I wasn’t there to critique the place. But as my body literally creaked under the weight of dinner (a good four hours after I’d put my fork down) and as any attempt to relieve the pressure only caused me to be a little bit sick in my own mouth, I lay awake wondering how anybody powers through three courses at Hinxton’s Red Lion. Granted, due to a short-term maladie I’d let relatively little pass my lips in the preceding 36hours, but still…..
That the very personable owner of this pub so reminded me of Lord Percy Percy, Heir to the Duchy of Northumberland, I might have known my Beef and Ale Pie would arrive in the shape of an enormous pie. Hand-cut chips the size of Chesterfields and every one of my five-a-day in attendance, the combined vista was so overwhelming I was beaten before I’d penetrated the short-crust. I needed help. My charitable dining companion duly took some matter off my hands but not without commenting, although I was perfectly satisfied with what I managed, that the thing about pastry is that “you’ve got to want to eat it …(as well as that which it encases)”. I think he was implying that my pie had been fired in the same kiln as his Bakewell Tart which, following the 10 minutes we were told it would take to arrive, looked more apt to be glazed than anything else. Now, I’ve seen the legacy of the BT murdered enough times in my kitchen that in future I’ll only sanction the inclusion of Classic puddings on the menu if we’re quite sure we can deliver something close to the real thing. This creation, for all that it outwardly resembled what it was supposed to, both exploded and imploded on excavation of its hot air filling and must have been as gratifying to consume as the contents of a helium balloon. If I had to guess, I’d say its approximate weight on arrival at our table was 2.5 grams.
I’ve no idea what the bill came to and given I wasn’t the one picking it up, I wouldn’t dream then of asking. Quite bizarrely, however, I can categorically confirm that it represented value for money. The proof is in three parts: i)I barely made a dent in my gargantuan wedge of Sticky Toffee Pudding ( for a moment I thought I’d accidentally ordered a sharing plate ), ii) my associate’s Ham, Egg and Chips seemed to do the business, and iii) I laughed like a drain.
And I had 3 pints of Hobson’s Choice. Which was lovely.
Cheers, B x