The Golden Lion, Fareham | Restaurant review

The Golden Lion in High Street, Fareham.The Golden Lion in High Street, Fareham.
The Golden Lion in High Street, Fareham.
A crackling fire, festive garlands around the walls and lion statues placed strategically around the room greet Dish Detective on their return to dining out.

Beckoned by images on Facebook of generously-loaded plates and Christmas decorations, your Dish Detective decided to venture for a classic Sunday pub roast to make up for weeks in lockdown.

And not many pubs are as cosy and classic as The Golden Lion in Fareham’s old High Street.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you were to take an American visitor for a quintessential British pub experience, it would be a perfect choice.

Two turkey crown roast dinners from The Golden Lion, Fareham.Two turkey crown roast dinners from The Golden Lion, Fareham.
Two turkey crown roast dinners from The Golden Lion, Fareham.

Knowing the venue’s popularity, we phone ahead to make a booking for two from our household – luckily, we aren’t sick of the sight of each other after four weeks of restricted living.

Turning up for our slot on a wintry Sunday afternoon, we are greeted by a warm room, big smiles and a scattering of people enjoying their meals.

It is a sad sight to see fewer people in a local pub than expected.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Perhaps not many others are as happy to head out for some fare with a housemate under tier two restrictions.

Browsing the menu – featuring various pub classics, such as cod and chips, sausage with mash as well as ham, egg and chips – it quickly becomes clear the Sunday roast is the hot favourite.

What better choice than turkey crown on a December day?

With two hopefully substantial turkey orders on their way (£12 each), Dish Detective and companion both opt for an alcoholic drink.

Cherries and berries Old Mout cider for the reviewer (£4.50) and a pint of Stowford Press for my dining partner (£4.30) keeps us quiet as we inspect the charming golden lions dotted around.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The meals come out very quickly – lucky, as we are starving.

The plates are loaded up with lashings of turkey meat, carrot and parsnip, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, crispy roast potatoes and two huge pigs in blankets.

A sharing dish of seasonal sprouts, swede and more carrots accompanies the already intimidating meal.

We are offered the choice of cranberry or apple sauce, but we both choose to enjoy the meal as it comes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We tuck in to the offering, which is doused in gravy as all good roasts should be.

The food is simply heavenly.

No matter how hard we might try at home, our roast potatoes will never live up to the crispy and fluffy goodness served up with this divine dish.

Often an issue with dine-out roast dinners, we are delighted to find the meat is plentiful.

The turkey provides a festive feeling as we rarely choose to eat it throughout the other 11 months of the year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

My companion remarks that it is one of the best roast dinners he has ever consumed – a glowing review which he repeats to the pleasant and helpful staff.

With clean plates and full bellies, it is unclear how we are tempted into eating a dessert.

I think a month without sampling restaurant fare is possibly to blame on this occasion.

Clearly on the same wavelength this meal time, we both plump for sticky toffee pudding with custard – which brings the meal total per head to £16 with a two-course deal.

The sponge is lighter than some might fancy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, it is the perfect finisher to an already satisfying meal and all custard in sight is quickly mopped up by this greedy pair.

This meal marked the perfect return to Sunday dining, following some dodgy attempts in the kitchen at home.

Those pigs in blankets have us dreaming of our next trip for a pub lunch at the Golden Lion.

Ratings out of five

Food: 5/5

Value: 5/5

Ambience: 5/5

Child-friendly: 4/5