On Saturday afternoon, my family and I ventured to a tiny place called Stodmarsh in the beautiful countryside near to us. The drive there is idyllic; if you enjoy feeling like you're on windy roads to nowhere.... farmland, quaint old stiles, dalmatian spotted cows and absolutely gorgeous old houses, inns and churches. We travelled through Ickham and Wickhambreaux - two more villages definitely worth a visit. Matt and I are going to return!
We arrived at The Red Lion - a rustic, red brick building with a chunky, old wooden door. I already knew that I wanted to take some photos for you lovely people on here and I was so happy to see the charming and cosy interior when I walked in. Too Instagram-able! The pub is fairly large for a village inn, weaving around the bar area, creating little booths with original wooden screens between them. I loved the wallpaper, making a library effect, and there were quirky items the owners have clearly collected dotted around - copper utensils, intentionally scuffed crates, interesting-looking wine bottles, antique coloured glass lamps - and some things I just couldn't identify! The coolest feature though was the pulleys en route to the toilets. When you open the doors, blue pieces of rope are pulled through and vintage brass instruments are hoisted up! I think they were tubas but you can spot them in the very first photo, so correct me! The doors to the loos were also adorned with the titles: 'Guys' and 'Dolls', which I thought was super cute.
Onto the food... we all opted for the two course set lunch menu; with three of us ordering steak and chestnut mushroom pie, and two fancying the shin of beef, while Matt chose chicken in a tomato and olive sauce. My pie was absolutely delicious and was served with creamy mash and giant carrots and parsnips. All of the food was presented beautifully, especially the desserts - which resembled the type of dishes put together on something like Masterchef, with the thoughtful and unusual details. Between us we ordered the banoffee cheesecake, the 'burnt' meringue, sticky toffee pudding and the Valhrona chocolate tart (you can see this above!) My chocolate tart came with blueberry compote and candied orange peel on the side, which I've never tried! The sugar glaze was lovely; then it became a little tangy. Nevertheless it was fun to try something new! The other puddings generally came as deconstructed versions, where the ingredients are all separate - again, I've seen this on professional cooking programmes!
If you are ever in South East Kent, and fancy a trip to an inviting country pub with hearty but slightly unconventional food, I hope you will try The Red Lion!