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The Lion, Leintwardine

South Shropshire | | Published:

Rating **** Sharon Walters spends an idyllic Sunday by the Teme.

Rating **** Sharon Walters spends an idyllic Sunday by the Teme.

When days are sunny there's nothing nicer than sitting alongside a river for a drink and something to eat.

And last Sunday with the rays beaming down my thoughts turned to where I could go to do just that.

Two friends had recommended a visit to the Lion at Leintwardine, on the south Shropshire border near Ludlow, and as it sits alongside the Teme I decided to pay a visit. A call to make sure they had room was affirmative and I was asked if we wanted to sit outside - yes, as long as we could go inside should the weather change! No problem, was the answer.

The Lion reopened last year after major refurbishment following a difficult period including being flooded out in those awful rains of summer 2007. I remember those only too well as my own home was flooded by a stream that normally trickles along at just three to four inches but rose to over four feet.

But my cottage was quickly restored and the Lion is once more back on its paws - well and truly complete with flood defences.

Leintwardine is a picture postcard village and the stone-built Lion sits well alongside the ancient bridge that goes across the Teme. Refurbishment has seen many original features kept alongside a more modern, contemporary feeling. There's a bar, lounge bar and more formal dining area, a private dining room, eight letting bedrooms and a terraced area that overlooks the water. An area to suit most needs.

Our welcome was warm and we went straight to our table to sit in the sunshine. Laid in restaurant style with linen napkins and the like, it looked so delightful with views across to the bridge and the river.

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The emphasis is on seasonal, freshly cooked food and that is quickly apparent when you look at any of the menus offered.

The Lion does snacks, bar and restaurant food and on our visit Sunday lunch. But Sunday lunch that was a little more special than a roast and veg - and there's nothing wrong with that!

One course is £13.45, two £16.45 and three £19.45. A basket of good quality bread arrived while we made our choices.

I went for a warm salad of new season Bridgnorth asparagus with lamb's leaf, toasted pumpkin seeds, cherry tomatoes and Pecorino cheese.

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It was my first asparagus of the season and did not disappoint. The combination of all the ingredients worked perfectly together and, to be honest, a larger portion would have done me very well as a main course.

Across the table Neil had a mosaic of chicken and smoked ham hock with orange and cardamom chutney with rocket and poppy leaf salad. For a man who visibly flinches at the mention of salad, his disappeared very quickly with the meaty and juicy terrine.

Herb roasted leg of spring lamb with crispy roasted potatoes and fresh mint jus was next for me.

I cheekily asked if I could have a Yorkshire pudding (they were being offered with the roast beef) and again that was no problem.

I had several pink, thick slices of tender meat which really brought home that it was a spring.

In fact I had to leave a slice and the waitress kindly wrapped it up to take home as a little treat for the dog who would be sulking when we got back.

One of just two critical comments to make here - the Yorkshire pudding was a shade overdone but I still ate it.

Neil had baked fillet of south coast hake with creamed leeks, horseradish and baby new potatoes. A decent thickness of fish, not overcooked and another nice dish for a spring day.

We had a bowl of mixed vegetables alongside and sadly did not eat enough as we should have because we wanted to leave space for pudding.

There was no difficult choice for me - rhubarb is a must when on the menu and so I had new season rhubarb pannacotta with yoghurt ice cream and rhubarb reduction.

The pannacotta was perfect and here comes my second criticism - the reduction was nice but a small pot of stewed rhubarb would have really finished the dish off for lovers of the vegetable such as me.

A couple of coffees followed and we sat and relaxed, watching the world go by.

There's a full range of beers, ciders and other bar drinks and a good wine list with a fruity Chilean red for a bargain price of £15.95.

The staff were helpful and efficient and at the same time friendly without being too intrusive. And what's more they were all smartly dressed in black and some white. Now that doesn't take too much effort but makes all the difference in appearance.

A delightful experience and the dog was very pleased with his spring lamb. It won't be long before we make a return visit.

ADDRESS

Lion Bar, Restaurant & Rooms, Leintwardine SY7 OJZ

Tel: 01547 540203

Web: www.thelionleintwardine.co.uk

MENU SAMPLE

Cream of celeriac and sage soup, toasted pinenuts and basil dressing; Roulade of Scottish smoked salmon and brown shrimp, lemon mascarpone and baby shoots.

MAIN COURSES

Roast sirloin of Herefordshire beef with crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and beef jus; Risotto of baby leek and potato, potato gaufrettes, poached Clun farm egg and Spanish olive oil

DESSERTS

Strawberry Eton mess; Chocolate and orange cheesecake

SERVICE

Excellent

ATMOSPHERE

Lovely and relaxed

DISABLED FACILITIES

Yes

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