The Golden Lion, Southwick
Something a bit different this time: a pub review! After all, where better to find beer than in its natural habitat?
From the Southwick Brewhouse you can’t fail to spot the Golden Lion, given that the two share a car park. In the interest of a fair review, Helen and I paid for our own meals and drinks, and didn’t tell the staff we were surreptitiously reviewing them. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!
Dinner and drinks
There were five beers on tap when we visited. Three of these were Suthwyk standards: Old Dick, Skew, and Hop & Glory. Now brewed by Bowman’s Ales after the closure of the Oakleaf brewery, who used to brew all of Suthwyk’s beers.
The relatively young Urban Island brewery provided a pale ale called Unforgiven from their non-regular White Label range. There was also a beer called Mr A’s Amber Alligator. I’d love to tell you more about the mysterious Mr A, but he seems to have no internet presence at all. All I can say is that it was on at the bargain price of £2 a pint, was my favourite beer of the night (all tangy hops, orange and honey), and it sold out before we left.
Our meal started out with home made bread and butter. I then opted for the goat’s cheese tartlet with broccoli and tomato salsa, followed by chicken and bacon tagliatelle with a side of roast veggies. Helen had pigeon breast with avocado mousse and pickled beetroot, followed by pork with potato dauphinoise and a wild mushroom ragout. Everything tasted wonderful – the polar opposite of churn-it-out pub chain food. The menu is full of imaginative, tasty stuff, and if you’re after something a bit less fancy, there are also various burgers and steaks, plus a range of hearty winter casseroles.
We were pretty stuffed by the end of our main courses, but to give you, dear reader, a proper impression, we felt compelled to order ice cream for dessert. Between us we managed to devour a cherry ripple, chocolate and, my favourite, a salted caramel.
Like much of the food, it’s local, from the Forest of Bere ice cream range.
The staff at the Golden Lion are friendly, attentive and never too busy for a chat. Landlord Greg made a point of going round all the restaurant tables to make sure everything was tickety-boo.
Even on a Tuesday the place was full, which might have been something to do with the live jazz trio who started up around eight o’clock. If you want to eat, you should probably book in advance.
I’m struggling to think what more you could want from a pub. Maybe a safe route to our home in Denmead, so we could drink a bit more beer and walk home without being mown down by an Audi. Ah, well. You can’t have everything.
Written by Richard Salsbury