Starry Dining and Wining
6th October 2012
Hot news this week: the Red Lion in East Chisenbury near Upavon, Wiltshire, has been awarded a Michelin Star. This is so well deserved: here’s the back story. Local boy Guy Manning trains with Bruce Poole at Chez Bruce in London and then heads to New York to extend his horizons. Working in the kitchen of the famous Per Se (triple-starred) he meets New Jersey-born Brittany. Together they also do a stage with another triple starred chef, Martin Berastegui, in San Sebastian. Armed with incredible experience they then come back to England to start their own place, and Wiltshire folk are just so lucky they alighted upon the little pub of the Red Lion in 2008. Since day one the cooking has been sensational here (they won Pub Chef of the year in the Good Food guide after only a year) and I have bored the pants off western Hampshire foodies extolling the virtues of Guy’s skill with fresh fish (you can never have enough butter!) and his epic Wilshire rib-eye steaks for two (one of the very few fixtures on the ever-changing menu). I fear sometimes that Brittany (who has just made the mistake of telling me she has a degree in Pastry Arts!) feels her mission is to get diners addicted to Valrhona chocolate, but do make sure you leave room for one of her amazing confections.
Every thing here is amazing: they don’t just use local suppliers, and change their menus with the seasons, but they are now increasingly going into production themselves, with a neat vegetable garden and home-cured meats. If you go to one of their special gourment dinners the food gets even more exciting – again, for some time I have been saying that on those nights the food is definitely approaching two stars!
The only problem about the Red Lion is that it’s a bit isolated (north of Salisbury, east of Devizes and south of Marlborough), but now there is a solution in sight. Guy and Britanny have created a really comfortable B & B, Troutbeck, just down the road from the pub. With just 5 smart rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, great bedding, B & O technology and wifi, this is a perfect place to totter back to after dinner. Stay there, eat at the Red Lion, and walk on Salisbury Plain: a perfect break.
Contacts: 01980 671124 www.redlionfreehouse.com
P.S. Here’s where I declare an interest. We have supplied the Red Lion ever since 2008, with a brief but really interesting list which is reviewed and overhauled regularly. But that isn’t why I have eaten there regularly ever since they opened – it’s simply because here is the best food, bar none, within 35 minutes of home near Stockbridge!