Steaks and Stakes ensure Doncaster prime value pub grub remains winner
It's a safe bet, nay racing certainty, JD Wetherspoon has featured in fine dining reviews as frequently as bookies become bankrupt.
But home of legendary St Leger was indeed where we chose to trough from - not scoff at - just such a cheap and cheerful menu.
And Spoons didn’t disappoint in value for money repast with The Red Lion hailed a roaring success for hard to beat meaty treats.
Starters were poultry, not paltry, substantial servings of fowl fare.
Chicken breast bites - 416 calories, but who’s counting? - were crisply battered, enlivened by sticky Soy sauce, supplying taste of the Orient.
Southern-fried chicken strips - 653 calories, still not counting - were accompanied by equally piquant smoky chipotle mayo.
Brief interlude ensued, during which we savoured the historic hostelry’s heritage, dating back to 1742 - not approaching quarter to six, as lamely quipped - most famously dinner party venue 36 years after that named world’s oldest horse race classic, title that would bring Doncaster global kudos.
Stakes to steaks, almost seamlessly, saw us flat out for main event in substantial shape of 14oz Aberdeen Angus rump, cooked well done, heathen choice guaranteed to make any chef bleu.
But it proved perfectly prepared for this philistine’s palate, accompanied by peas, tomato, mushroom, served with choice of jacket potato or, in our case, chips to complete Fresh From The Grill feast.
Spice of life came in fragrantly flavoured form of mouth-watering chicken tikka masala - eye-watering 1085 calories, frankly past caring - partnered by pilau rice, mango chutney, poppadoms and naan bread, which can be swerved for serving of more crisp discs as gluten-free friendly option.
Another respite allowed further research of memorabilia, celebrating not just Sport of Kings’ princes such as Lester Piggott, unfeasibly tall five feet eight inch “The Long Fellow” jockey, but also local luminaries like Armthorpe-born goalden boy Kevin Keegan and Sprotbrough’s finest, late great top-flight hero Sir Douglas Bader.
Raising a glass to such legends couldn’t be easier in an inn that boasts best bar none craft beer selection, including Guinness departure Hop House 13 lager as well as BrewDog’s Punk IPA and, still in the building, Elvis Juice.
Suitably satisfied, we left, our hunger sated, somewhat heavier, but just thrifty thirty quid lighter.
The Red Lion, 37–38 Market Place, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN1 1NH.