Country inn in peaceful village run by hard-working chef-owners, contemporary décor, an informal atmosphere and excellent food; fine bedrooms with riverfront decks
The good pub guide review
It's the superb food cooked by Mr and Mrs Manning (both are top chefs) that draws customers from far and wide, but this is also a proper pub where locals congregate by the bar for a pint and a chat. You'll find Ramsbury Blindside, Box and Stonehenge ales on handpump, 24 wines by the glass, home-made cordials, quite a range of gins and a dozen malt whiskies. One long room is split into different areas by brick and green-planked uprights. A big woodburner sits in a brick inglenook fireplace at one end; at the other is a comfortable black leather armchair, and in between are high-backed and farmhouse wooden dining chairs around various tables on bare boards or stone tiles, with pretty flowers and church candles dotted about. There's an additional dining area too and an upstairs private dining room; background music. Outside, the terrace and grassed area above it have picnic-sets and tables and chairs. They make their own dog treats and can organise a packed lunch for walkers. Just across the road from the pub is their boutique guesthouse, Troutbeck. The five well equipped and extremely comfortable bedrooms have private decks overlooking the River Avon and breakfasts are delicious; the bloody marys and bucks fizz are complimentary.
The good pub guide food review
Faultless food using their own produce and home-reared pigs and chickens includes lunchtime sandwiches, scallop ceviche with burnt apple, jalepeños and dill, mussel tagliatelle with saffron, Pernod and chives, wild mushroom pithivier with chestnuts, truffle nage and crispy parmesan, herb-roasted guinea fowl with potato millefeuille, charred leeks and madeira velouté, turbot with saffron-braised potatoes, fennel, brown shrimps and sauce bourride, and puddings such as new york cheesecake with bay, rhubarb and iced Hendrick's and tonic and bitter chocolate tart with banana compote, coffee cream and hazelnut praline. Instead of Sunday lunch, they now run a very popular morning bakery selling doughnuts and croissants, with beers until 1.30pm.
The Red Lion Freehouse is a truly unique, modern-day inn on the edge of Salisbury Plain. Awarded a Michelin star in 2012, this family-run, thatched country pub takes its food offering seriously but insists on keeping the vibe as warm and welcoming as possible. Accessible to the pint-drinking punter (with sandwiches, pub grub and a fantastic value prix fixe menu on weekdays) and the food adventurer (with epic tasting menus each season, or for a special occasions), one can enjoy a Michelin meal of varying descriptions. Both the pub area and the 20-seat private dining room welcome children, dogs, your unruly aunt- you name it. All are invited and well looked after.
For those who want to make a real occasion of it, stay at Troutbeck- the Red Lionu2019s converted bungalow just steps across the road. With the same attention to detail as lovingly poured into the food, all 5 of Troutbecku2019s en-suite rooms have river views, private decks and all the amenities you would expect from its 5 star rating (and of course a fantastic breakfast to finish you off properly).
The Mannings and Co. have worked hard to create a place with real soul- where the food has personality, the surroundings are relaxed and the hospitality is sincere. Join the team for a meal at the pub or a sleep at Troubeck and enjoy being part of the family for a while.
Red Lion, East Chisenbury, Pewsey, Wiltshire, SN9 6AQ
Weekdays: 3-11 Tues, Weds; 9am-11pm Thurs Fri; closed Mon