The Golden Lion, Southwick – superb meal & friendly welcome

golden lionI’ve just returned from The Golden Lion at Southwick, Hampshire. I don’t generally post a review so quickly but this was so good I just couldn’t wait to share it. We wanted to take Geoff’s parents out for Sunday lunch and we were going to take them to one of our favourite country pubs, The Shoe at Exton but after hearing that the village had been under water due to the recent weather we thought we’d try somewhere different for a change. Geoff searched on TripAdvisor and saw that The Golden Lion had extremely good reviews plus it wasn’t too far away.As soon as we entered the pub we received a warm welcome from Janie the landlady. She took our order for drinks and showed us to our table in the dining room.
The place was really nice, clean and bright – it was a sunny day for a change – with lovely log fires burning. Photos on the walls were of the village in days gone by. There were two menus for Sunday lunch including a roast etc., and a series of ‘Winter Warmers’ such as casseroles and stews. Both menus included vegetarian options. I thought instead of the usual roast which I would normally go for I’d try a casserole.

lovely fresh bread, white and sun dried tomato served with butter
Lovely fresh bread, white and sun dried tomato served with butter

First we were given a wooden board with slices of two different kinds of bread served with butter. One was fresh white bread and the other a really nice sun dried tomato bread. I thought it had a hint of Parmesan in it but apparently not. It was very nice indeed.

Isle of wight brie, cranberry compote
Baked Isle of Wight brie

For my starter I had delicious baked Isle of Wight Brie with cranberry compote, Maldon sea salt, crusty bread and butter. There was plenty of Brie and normally I’m a little fussy and would cut away the white crust but this was soft and so good I ate the lot, even mopping it up with the extra bread. The plate was almost clean again by the time I’d finished with it.

Slow braised lamb and mint stew
Minted Slow braised lamb stew

The casserole I chose was minted slow braised lamb stew with baby potatoes, red lentils, fresh mint. I don’t mind mint at all but Geoff doesn’t like it. I think he would have liked this though as the mint was very subtle. The casserole also contained leeks and carrots but cut really small. It really was a tasty dish. Fresh bread was served with the casserole – which was great as I couldn’t get enough of that sun dried tomato bread!

ginger cake
Warm blackberry & stem ginger cake

For dessert Geoff and I went halves. We chose the warm blackberry & stem ginger cake with spiced chocolate ice-cream and also vanilla panna cotta, cinnamon shortbread and blueberry coulis. Geoff and I adore panna cotta. Although I do recall one which we didn’t adore in Pisa, Italy which was served with balsamic. It was weird!

panna cotta
Panna cotta, cinnamon shortbread & blueberry coulis

Both were superb. The ginger cake was fresh and moist, the spiced chocolate ice-cream was very nice and the panna cotta was wonderfully smooth and creamy. The shortbread biscuits were obviously home-made, they just melted on the palate.


My mother-in-law and I shared a bottle of very nice rioja. Campo Dorado Crianza (from producers  Bodegas Olarra) which I shall have to look out for. Geoff and his father enjoyed very local beer named Skew. Behind the Golden Lion is the Southwick Brewery which brew their own ale – you can’t get more local than that! On their website they say “Skew Ale begins its nurtured life when we carefully sow the barley seed during early spring in the light chalky soil of the nearby ‘Skew field’. The south-facing slope of the field ensures that every hour of sunshine is captured to produce a plump golden grain”. (Funnily enough I was cycling along Skew Road and the field only last week). Of course, we had to pop into the shop to buy a couple of bottles to take away.

Clockwise from top left: Sausage casserole; pretty fresh flowers; The Golden lion sign; The exterior; The Southwick Brewery; Ham
Clockwise from top left: O’Hagan’s Pork & ale sausage casserole; pretty fresh flowers upon the table; The Golden Lion sign; The exterior; The Southwick Brewery; Honey & mustard roast ham, cider apple sauce.

I spoke to Greg the landlord – nice friendly chap – and he told us that the one thing they pride themselves on is that they have complete certainty of source for all their ingredients, for example, he knew exactly where/when the venison was shot and by whom! Also the chef is his son! The pub ‘has the honour of being the D Day pub that was used as the unofficial mess during the preparations for D Day at Southwick Park. The lounge was reputedly used by Churchill, Montgomery, Smuts and Eisenhower and the barmaid Edwina that served them has recently died at the age of 100 yrs’. The Southwick Estate is managed by the Thistlethwayte family who are descendants of John Whyte who bought it from Henry VIII in 1539! If you want to know more about the history – Southwick House played a big part in the D-Day operations but no longer belongs to the estate since 1950 –  take a look at the Southwick Estate website. So, I’ve shown you some great food and given you a little history lesson too.

We won’t hesitate in returning to this lovely old English pub with it’s tasty food and friendly staff.

Living life, loving cake

A x



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