Restaurant & Bar Awards 2020

Page 14 LUX Restaurant & Bar Awards 2020 Pubs are synonymous with British culture, and while there are many dotted up and down the country – a fair number of them with tales to tell- few match up to The Red Lion in Swaffham, Norfolk. Starting life as a coaching inn, the pub is now a decidedly more modern establishment with a variety of en suite rooms and a goal to deliver ‘better’. Whether that be through continual improvements and refinements, or through a commitment to best in class hospitality, as Robert starts to explain. “Over the last few years we have continued to upgrade the rooms, with all of the doors and windows having been replaced over the last couple of years. Since taking ownership, we have been dedicated to a goal of creating a warm, friendly atmosphere and the promise of a high standard of service in a clean, fresh and comfortable room. All the rooms have an en suite shower and in-room tea and coffee making facilities as standard. There is also a safe in the double and twin rooms.” It soon becomes clear that comfort remains a top priority for Robert, and a key to The Red Lion’s enduring appeal to regulars and newcomers alike. Though, it’s by far the only way that the pub has secured an impeccable reputation in the region. The food is also exceptional. “Being in a market town we always use the fresh fruit, vegetables and ingredients that the market provides. We also use the local butchers, which means we have the best range of meats possibly available. Together, it means we can create great menus that include gluten and dairy free options, as well as cater to both vegans and vegetarians.” The Red Lion is an altogether traditional British pub, at least from the outset. However, beneath its archetypal rural veneer lies a centuries long history and a mission to deliver exceptional family friendly service to all patrons who step over the threshold. We spoke with one of the current owners, Robert Bartram, to find out more. Robert Bartram Best Family-Friendly Local Pub - Breckland On top of this, and acting as testament to the strength of its gastronomical offerings, The Red Lion also offers event catering and, more recently, have introduced a ‘call and collect’ service. “We have also started smoking our own meats and cheeses and vegetables as no other local places do so. We make a great pulled pork brisket with our own spices and rubs,” Robert adds. Naturally, The Red Lion’s success can’t be attributed to one person, but to the combined force of the team that Robert has in place, as he goes on to discuss. “The Red Lion has a great team which thankfully enjoy working here! Many of our staff have become skilled in all areas of the restaurant and we encourage them to embrace their strengths. However, throughout it all, the customer comes first. Communication and hospitality will always be key. Finally, in his closing comments, Robert offers some insight into the future of The Red Lion. “We have been here since 2014 and while we have completely changed the decoration and feel of every area – from the cellar, bar, and restaurant to the facade and rooms – we still have some changes to make.” That earlier observation seems to very much hold true – The Red Lion is on a path to perfection, and that path is far from done yet. Company: The Red Lion Contact: Robert Bartram Website: Telephone: 01760721022 Meals are served from 12pm to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday & until 6pm Sunday “Our aim is to use local fresh produce and to create the best time that our guest can possibly have while here - whether for tea and cake or for office parties and events.” “The Red Lion also hosts regular comedy nights, live bands and karaoke nights, as well as monthly quiz and bingo nights – all of which we host to support great charities.”