The Bar Sleuth: At home at the Red Lion
HOCKWOLD CUM WILTON — The Red Lion pub, between RAFs Lakenheath and Feltwell, has a definite feeling of home to it.
Whether it’s from the two leather couches sitting in the entrance area or the large bowls of sausages and mashed potatoes served in the dining room, the pub is definitely comfortable to the eye and the stomach.
But unlike most homes, the Red Lion also has about a dozen beers on tap, including Greene King real ales.
With good food and beer, a handful of mellow patrons on a Tuesday night were able to talk with each other without either butting into each other’s conversations or being interrupted by the soft music playing through the pub.
It’s the kind of place that could fit well in any neighborhood.
On weekends, one patron said, many of the town’s American residents hit the Red Lion to socialize and knock back a couple of pints.
With its proximity to the two bases, it’s not surprising that lots of Yanks would frequent the place. But on that Tuesday, three of us were the only non-British patrons.
This relative calm allowed us to take in the pub’s décor. There’s something on almost every open space, including dozens of mugs and copper pots and vessels hanging from the ceiling, and even a small military display with an old gas mask.
While the surroundings keep the eye entertained, what’s most impressive about this pub is not the décor, but the food.
Rather than the standard, mass-processed “pub grub,” the Red Lion actually has three menus: the regular menu, the extra four-course dinner menu and the specials board.
The pub’s specialty sausages, made by a butcher in Norfolk, caught our eye.
For 8.95 pounds, patrons could choose one of a dozen types of sausages, ranging from the pork and stilton (cheese) to others flavored by different herbs and spices, balanced with a choice of one of five types of mashed potatoes, such as olive oil, garlic and cheesy.
This was definitely the best pub meal that this bar sleuth has had.
The regular menu is offered each day, but there are other meal specials throughout the week.
That four-course meal is offered on Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesday is a two-course carvery night and the traditional roast is offered on Sunday.
The Red Lion doesn’t seem like the kind of place for a single guy to spend a night on the town, but it is the kind of place where those who want a good beer and a good meal will get their fill.
The Red Lion
Location: Main Street, Hockwold
Drinks: Average English prices for beer and ale.
Food: Assorted pub food. The sausage and mashed potato dishes our group of three had were exceptionally good. Daily specials and regular special menus on different nights of the week.
Ambiance: Quiet and comfortable on a Tuesday evening. Two couches give the place a feeling of home.
Service: Good, but there was only a handful of patrons in the bar.
No Web site.