The Red Lion is a a small, family friendly independent pub in West Deeping, just ten minutes outside Peterborough, which is building a great reputation for food – all cooked by landlord Gino Gioia. ‘We’ve made lots of changes since we took it over,’ says Gino’s wife, Vikki. ‘It was quite unloved when we came, and we’ve replastered, replaced the toilets and so on. The feel of the place is lovely now, with exposed brickwork and beams and open fire.’ Self-taught chef Gino’s menu includes pub classics such as burgers or fish and chips, but all with his own unique stamp.
‘It’s just good, fresh food,’ says Vikki. ‘When we first came here it was a basic pub, with microwaveable meals, but we have really tried to go down the fresh food route. Our main menu is essentially real pub classics like ham, egg and chips, burgers and so on.’ The specials board allows Gino to mix things up a bit with such delights as duck breast on cassoulet. ‘We always try to do something a little bit different, something to give it a modern twist, so the cassoulet, for example, is topped with flash-fried parsley.’ When asked her favourite dish from the menu, there’s no hesitation. ‘The chocolate fondant… And Gino changes it, so sometimes he puts fresh orange in, sometimes mint or rosemary. And also I’d say the burger. We seem to have quite a few American customers, and obviously they love their burgers, so I take it as a great compliment when an American says it’s the best burger he’s ever had!’ There’s also our bar board, which we generally do at weekends, and that’s got our pâté, dandelion and burdock braised ham, whitebait – that kind of thing, if you just want a quiet drink with a little bite to eat.’ Recent innovations include flavoured popcorn – including
smoked bacon, maple syrup and garlic. ‘We did try Marmite,’ says Vikki, ‘but I’m not a fan!’ Well, Marmite was always going to divide the crowd…
‘Every now and then we have music and are looking at having a casino night,’ says Vikki. ‘We also have Morris dancing here. We’ve even started a competition for the best amateur Morris dancer! Classic car and motorbike clubs meet here quite often, too, which is lovely in the summer.’
‘We’ve got a lovely paddock at the back which has a nice children’s play area, and we’re looking to give that a nice colourful feel with pastel colours and fairy lights, so even in the evenings it would be nice to sit out and relax,’ says Vikki. The pub also has a new menu, featuring some lip-smacking new additions. ‘One of the new dishes is herb crusted pork belly, on lemon and thyme mash. That’s really delicious.’ For the hotter weather there are classic, lighter dishes such as sole meunière. ‘We’re also doing more salads, often with a twist like pomegranate seeds for a nice fresh flavour
The Red Lion, 48 King Street, West Deeping PE6 9HP