It had been a while since we’d visited the former Slyne Lodge near Lancaster and we wanted to see what changes had been made since its new owners took over.
Now called The Lodge, and offering bar, restaurant and function facilities with accommodation, the 19th century pub in Slyne Road has been given a much needed makeover.
We visited on a Sunday evening in late October, and it was relatively quiet around 6pm, with a few people relaxing in the bar and three or four tables occupied by diners.
We were welcomed and seated by the bar manager, and menus soon arrived with a “colouring in menu” and crayons for our two children.
What struck me immediately was the quality of the kid’s menu.
As usual there were sausages and goujons, but also on offer was Lancashire hotpot and a 4oz steak (main and two side options for £5.50).
My daughter Zoe, on ordering and receiving the steak with our starters, commented: “I can’t believe I’ve got steak!”
My son Will devoured what turned out to be a generous portion of hotpot in rich gravy, with hand cut chips in a little basket and mushy peas. He too was as impressed as an eight-year-old boy whose food rarely touches the sides can be.
Meanwhile on the adult menu, my wife Liz chose the mackerel fillet with salad and horseradish sauce, while I deliberated until I ran out of time over the pan fried black pudding (£6.50), homemade Fleetwood fishcakes (£6), and the Red Tractor chicken and chorizo hanging skewers (£6.75).
The hanging skewers won the toss in the end. You can also get the fishcakes and skewers (fillet steak and halloumi and grilled vegetables also an option) as main courses.
Both starters were very good. From the skewers’ point of view, it’s an impressive display. There was plenty of meat, and the garlic mayo dip and salad with honey and mustard dressing were perfect accompaniments. The salad dressing in particular was extremely tasty.
Deliberation is always a good sign in a restaurant, and I was torn on the mains too, the Sunday roast with all the trimmings, or chicken breast with Lancashire cheese, asparagus, bacon crisp and thyme sautéed potatoes both sounding great. But it was the Lamb Henry with champ mash, roasted vegetables and a mint and redcurrant sauce (£17), that proved to get the mouth watering the most.
I have to say, with this main, I could have easily gone without the starter.
It was a delicious, hefty, rich meal in a large hot dish, that nearly got the better of me. The lamb was tender and fell apart, smothered in the sauce, it was a slow meal that I relished all the way through.
Liz went for the Sunday roast, which was equally generous, lots of sliced pork and a massive Yorkshire pud.
During our meal more people arrived in the restaurant area and a relaxing buzz settled in. Dessert was out of the question and even the kids didn’t grumble.
With a pint and a half of Ringwood’s Razorback ale, and two fruit juices, the total bill came to £61.
It’s perhaps a little more than we would have hoped to spend on a Sunday dinner, but the food was unique, good quality and very tasty, the staff were very helpful and friendly, and the general ambience of The Lodge created a nice atmosphere for a relaxing couple of hours as a family.
With accommodation also available, it would be a great place to spend a night or two with city, coast and countryside all just a couple of miles away. Visit www.thelodgelancaster.co.uk.