A good friend organised a get together for 4 of us, two couples, about a week before we visited. The site reviews suggested a new management and gastro-pub food. So this was what we expected.
There are good points and bad points. Half of us had food that was OK, the other half had to send food back because it was cold and uncooked.
The bad points.
* Only two people had starters - one starter (from the Christmas Menu) was the soup, which arrived cold. This was sent back to the kitchen and was returned some 5 minutes later but only warm, not piping hot.
* Two main courses were from the Christmas menu; vegetable Moussaka. These were both luke-warm, with the aubergine and courgette uncooked. Both were sent back to the kitchen. These were never returned and no-one came to offer anything else as a replacement, (even a sandwich would have done).
* The reason given for the cold food was 'there has been a power cut in the kitchen'. No further explanation was offered.
* Three people had desserts, which were OK and acceptable (but not a wow!).
* Decaffeinated tea or coffee were not available, so we skipped those.
* The bill when presented, we were told "has a sight discount", which proved to be the case - very slight, £6 in fact. The Christmas Menu prices are £22 for two courses and £28 for three. We were charged 4x £22.
Two meals were OK at £22 but the remaining two were not even realistic. £22 for a starter (cold soup; then warmed) and a dessert, seems excessive; the Main Course having been sent back uncooked and never returned, or replaced. One person was charged £22 for a dessert only, it being the edible part of the meal; the main course having been sent back as uncooked and never returned or replaced.
* Three times we had to ask for a jug of water.
* When asked for any sauces for the main course, Tabasco was requested and never arrived, no reason was given.
* The drinks prices are excessive; £7.50 for a glass of wine and £9 per pint for beer.
* The hand dryers in the toilets do not work.
* Communication between the front of house and kitchen was not evident. Cold food and missed courses were 'not realised' by the front of house, who then took a defensive manner, over a bill that asked to be paid for something not had.
The good points.
* The refurbishment is smart and cheery; with a good ambiance.
* The car park is newly tarmac covered and is safe and dry to walk across.
* The staff were initially attentive but became flustered when a large party arrived late.
* Apologies for cold food were offered, often.
* A discounted price was offered as "We do not want a bad review. We have a reputation to keep."
* Front of house did say they wanted us to return and that it "had been a bad day."
This is a fair and representative report on our first visit to the Red Lion. We all understand having a bad day, we have all been there. We may have a second go, we may not. We will watch the reviews and wait until things settle down.
There are far better locations around York to eat, drink and be merry.