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Beer of the Week (w/e 26th January 2020) with Wittenden on the Pub Forum

Old Red Lion, Dunstable

Bedford Road
Houghton Regis
Postal town: Dunstable

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Pub Type

Crown Carveries (Mitchells & Butlers)

Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Komakino . left this review about Old Red Lion

Confusingly, The Olde Red Lion is part of Crown Carveries and despite Blackthorn_'s thorough review below, food-wise, it's all about the meat and veg. The ale front was a let-down, with three stumps; two unclipped and a third with Sharp's Doom Bar reversed. Upon enquiry, the Doom Bar stump was dispensing GK IPA, so I fell on my sword and 'enjoyed' a half for £1.35 (it wasn't too bad actually). This place is best experienced as part of a dining experience, so if you are planning the HR six, only bother with this one if you are a completest.

On 21st January 2018 - rating: 2
[User has posted 958 recommendations about 958 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about Old Red Lion

An attractive and traditional looking, red brick pub on the outskirts of Houghton Regis, it looks as though it could perhaps be something of a gastro-pub. As it transpired though, although food is offered, this was far from the case. There is a fair sized beer garden alongside the car park, although it’s essentially just a plain patch of grass. The staff seemed friendly enough, although the young lady serving me had to stop what she was doing several times in order to explain at some length to a colleague what needed to be done with a consignment of tea towels that had recently arrived.

The bar area at the front of the pub is a fairly small room with just the bar counter and a few stools along the wall opposite. Off of this was a reasonably attractive snug area with a beam or two on the ceiling, a red and green colour scheme and a few pictures and gilded mirrors on the wall. Unfortunately this was closed off with a reserved sign attached to a baby’s high chair blocking the entrance way, although the chances of anyone turning up to use it at 9:00pm on a mid-week evening seemed unlikely. Down a couple of steps to the rear of the pub, you are first of all confronted with a large carvery counter with a seating area next to this, and beyond this it opens out in to a more modern extension with plenty of glazing giving a light and airy feel and cream wood panelling cladding the arched roof.

Food wise, the menu concentrated very much on the carvery, with other options being severely limited. In fact the “Pub classics” section of the menu contained just three dishes – Fish and chips, Pie of the day, or half a roast chicken and these were priced somewhere around the £4 mark. Not fancying a carvery on a hot summer evening, I went for a vegetarian option, naively thinking that at £5.99 it was almost double the price of some of the other options and so must be a half decent dish. Sadly I was mistaken. I thought that the Sage Roasted Butternut Squash which the menu described as “Butternut squash and sage layered with a rich tomato sauce topped with creamy spinach and ricotta sauce, finished with breadcrumbs, pecorino regato cheese and pumpkin seeds” sounded quite tasty, but what arrived was something so obviously straight out the micro-wave it was laughable. Served in a soup bowl it consisted of a collapsed pile of food looking something like a rather sorry lasagne. The creamy sauce consisted of no more than a teaspoonful of something that had long since dried up and neither the breadcrumbs, pecorino or pumpkin seeds were discernable. On the plus side, the arrangement was that I then helped myself to vegetables from the carvery counter, and whilst there was a reasonable selection here, much of it was past it’s best having clearly been sat there for some time, with the roast potatoes in particular reminding me of something I used to get at school. Healthy eating would appear not to be high on the priorities here, since quite remarkably almost every desert managed to incorporate toffee, caramel, fudge, butterscotch or treacle. Alternatively the princely sum of £1.99 you could opt for “all you can eat” ice cream.

The solitary beer on tap was Bombardier, although there were two other pumps on the bar that appeared unused, so perhaps on occasions there is more choice. Somehow I doubt it though. The solitary cider was Strongbow unfortunately. All in all, a pub best avoided.

On 12th June 2014 - rating: 3
[User has posted 1717 recommendations about 1653 pubs]