Review: The Lion at Kington

PUBLISHED: 12:49 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:40 20 February 2013

Review: The Lion at Kington

Review: The Lion at Kington

Sharon Chilcott and Mark Jarrold dine at a restaurant where the chef and staff take huge pride in their superb offerings

Diners are spoilt for choice at The Lion at Kington, where chef/proprietor Gareth Clark works hard to create and present an interesting and varied menu.

The dishes on offer change regularly, dictated by what is available, as Gareth endeavours to use as much seasonal and local produce as he can.

What a delight to see wild game on the menu tonight there is a choice of local venison and mushroom ragu, with black olives and potato gnocchi or a pair of pheasant breasts with swede and celeriac hash, braised red cabbage and redcurrant jus. Gareth also recently had boar on the menu, which was particularly popular.

I opt for the pheasant, while Mark adopts the habit of many diners before him and orders the steak the one, well-loved item on the menu which Gareth doesnt change. To start with I choose pan-fried king scallops, aubergine caviar and roquette pesto and Mark decides on the ham hock and black pudding terrine, served with mixed leaves, chutney
and bread.

This is a lovely, friendly, cosy restaurant where the service is excellent and our two charming waitresses are knowledgeable, helpful and attentive. While we are perusing the menu we are offered bread with dipping oil and balsamic vinegar and, once we have ordered, our starters arrive promptly and are both beautifully presented. They look too good to eat, but my scallops are heavenly.

Marks 12 ounce, char-grilled rib-eye steak, accompanied by salad, homemade chips and blue cheese sauce, is an aged Welsh Black steak, sourced by Gareth from his regular butcher in Builth Wells. Mark confirms that it is melt-in-the mouth succulent Welsh Black beef is known for its natural marbling which contributes to its superb eating quality.

My pheasant is delicious and the tangy braised red cabbage a real favourite and the redcurrant jus are a perfect choice to accompany it but I have to admit I struggle to finish it. However, faced with a dessert menu which includes raspberry Eton mess with raspberry liqueur, we both succumb. Mark valiantly decides to order and to allow me to taste a spoonful! In this he is undeniably encouraged by our wicked waitress, who (un)-reliably informs us that the portion is only small. Oh but what a delight I would not have missed my tiny taste of this dessert and a sip of the liqueur which so wonderfully complements it for the world. The vodka-based liqueur, from Herefordshires Chase Distillery, is warmed to bring out the full fruity flavour and Mark declares the whole combination divine and then adds ruefully death by raspberry!

Diners beware some of the portions at The Lion are lion-sized! So it might be worth going on a fast beforehand it would be a pity to miss out on a single delicious mouthful.

The Lion Restaurant at 52, Bridge Street, Kington, is housed in a historic 16th century building which Gareth has tastefully renovated and refurbished to make it into an attractive and welcoming venue.

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