If you’ve ever watched the TV show Gilmore Girls, you’ll no doubt have wondered whether somewhere like the town of Stars Hollow could possibly exist outside the world of fiction. Nowhere is so picturesque, surely? Well it turns out somewhere is, and North Notts is home to it: Farnsfield, a small village that is best described as absolutely adorable. There’s greenery and things in bloom (I have it on good authority that it participates in a ‘Best Kept Village’ contest). You can see actual wildlife in fields. People even say hello to each other. It’s English countryside postcard material for sure.
The Lion, one of just 2 pubs in the area, upholds the village aesthetic; beautifully decorated inside, small exclamations of its personality seep through in the details: statement ornaments dotted around, classic paintings given a quirky twist (think sunglasses scrawled on unlikely subjects) etc.
The menu promises traditional pub classics given a modern twist, and you can definitely see evidence of this – the bread is ‘artisan’, things come with a ‘jus’ , and there’s an emphasis on the ‘real ale’ in the pies and the battered fish. It could almost teeter on the edge of being pretentious, but it’s actually not – it’s just really good homemade food.
I picked the ‘Big Blue’ burger – and an accurately chosen adjective it was. HUGE. A beef patty glued between a brioche bun, with a delicious combination of onion marmalade, mayonnaise and molten stilton… oh, and two gigantic ale-battered onion rings. Add in a layer of lettuce and tomato and this was pretty much a dream burger (plus the accompaniment of thick, hand-cut chips)
The strength of the stilton cut across the tang of the marmalade and the juiciness of the meat really well, and the chips were equal parts fluff & crisp. Its size ended up being its downfall, though, and I was forced to forego one half of the bun and one onion ring.
My friend chose something from the specials board: swordfish, a large fillet of it (its flavour vaguely resembles gammon/bacon, for anyone who’s never tried it), light but still retaining a meaty texture, served on a bed of crunchy salad. Healthier than my choice without a doubt, but still not skimping on portion size.
Along with a bottle of pinot grigio, the meal for 2 came to about £45, which definitely seemed worth it for both the quality and quantity of what was on our plates. So if you’re after hearty, home comfort-style food in a lovely atmosphere, this ticks all the boxes.
robyn’s review: 8/10
Find The Lion at Main Street, Farnsfield, Newark NG22 8EY