The idea of having a proper local pub always appeals. A regular haunt, nothing fancy required, just reliably good beer and food. Somewhere you can rock up any night of the week for an impromptu pint or pie, safe in the knowledge you won't be disappointed.
It doesn't sound like a big ask, but if, like me, you never end up living in the leafy, fashionable or well-to-do suburbs, it can be a challenge. Live in Dulwich, Chorlton or Chapel Allerton and this mission ought to be straightforward. Try Woolwich, Sale or Outwood and you might struggle.
Now that I'm residing on the north side of Sheffield the challenge starts anew. The Old Red Lion would just about fit the bill, so it's a shame it's not quite within walking distance.
It looks like a traditional village pub, but the food on offer is a little more ambitious. There's a menu of pub classics, pitched around the ten or twelve quid mark, and a fixed price menu at £23 for two courses. We thought we'd try the pub grub first time around then return for the more upmarket stuff at a later date if it was any good.
On the face of it the beef, mushroom and ale pie ticked every one of my 'dislike' boxes. China bowl of stew with a pastry lid rather than an actual pie: check. Jenga chips: check. Another annoying china bowl with not enough peas in it: check.
Putting my prejudices aside I got stuck in and what do you know, it was really good. Tender beef and fat slices of earthy mushroom in a thin but well-flavoured broth encased in short, delicate pastry. Peas that were a lot better than they looked and competent chips.
AS had the rump steak, a decent enough piece of meat that was accurately cooked, a feat beyond most pubs. A side of onion rings were fine specimens, hot, crunchy and more-ish. I enjoyed them so much I'm even prepared to forgive the great big pointless tomato, which was big, pointless and not great.
That return visit is definitely on the cards, there's a partridge dish with my name on it. Were it half a mile closer to home The Old Red Lion could be my local, as it is I'm still on the lookout. Any good pubs in Oughtibridge?
210 Main Street
Please note: Don't mistake this place for the other Red Lion in Grenoside on the A61, which is a bit crap.