Test Driving The Red Lion and Sun in Highgate - a gastropub with a cracking wine list

burrataWiltshire burrata with Isle of Wight tomatoes

So what do we need to know about The Red Lion and Sun?

This is a gastropub that takes wine seriously. Owner Heath Ball's knowledge and enthusiasm for wine won this Highgate pub the title of Best Wine Pub in 2016's Best Pub Awards.

So why are you talking about it right now?

Well, we've been following Heath on Instagram for ages (@pubhobbit) but only recently got around to trying the pub when the last heatwave struck London. We've been kicking ourselves for all those missed opportunities, so we're telling you about it now, so you don't make the same mistake.

Where is it, exactly?

Just at the top of Highgate Hill. The nearest tube is Highgate.

asparagusAsparagus and crab mayo

Where should we sit?

Well if the sun is shining, the pub has two gardens. Sadly neither is bookable, but if you get there early enough you should be able to nab a table in the dappled sunshine. We ended up in the back garden which was a lovely little sun trap.

So what kind of food is it?

They describe their offering as "rustic modern British pub food". We were there as part of a large group for Sunday lunch, so we worked our way through much of the menu, including the main attraction - the roasts. And it's a lovely menu - packed full of things you'd fancy trying from the organic burrata from Wiltshire with plum and cherry Isle of Wight tomatoes - a massive serving for £10 - to the Norfolk asparagus served with a crab mayonnaise, thick with white and brown crabmeat (£10).

And while the Cornish day boat sea bass with crispy new potatoes and samphire (£17) was expertly cooked and quite gorgeous, and the teenagers with us loved the wild garlic gnocchi with rich tomato sauce (£15), they were no match for the two roasts - a confit of Cornish lamb shoulder (£19) and roast Aberdeen Angus rib eye, served medium-rare with all the trimmings (£19).

Amazingly we found we had room for some desserts, the best of which was a banoffee pie (£6.50).

marketRoast beef with all the trimmings

But what about the wine?

We gave ourselves over to Heath who plundered his cellar to provide us with some really wonderful wines over the course of lunch, kicking off with a bottle of Llopart organic Cava (£30) - which tasted even better after the 4km Parkland Walk up to Highgate in the heat. And a bottle of Vietti Roero Arneis from Piedmont (£45) was a revelation too. The wine list features plenty in the £25-£40 bracket although you could push the boat out for 2005 Pauillac at £100.

Overall thoughts:

Sitting in the sun here, over a long, boozy Sunday lunch alongside the well-heeled denizens of Highgate left us imbued with a sense that all was well with the world. We were stupid not to have come here before. Don't make the same mistake.

banoffeePecan banoffee pie


More about The Red Lion & Sun

Where is it? 25 North Road. Highgate. N6 4BE

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram;@theredlionandsun 


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