08 October 2007
A LANDLADY who has been a passionate vegetarian for 20 years has banned meat from her historic Suffolk pub.
Jan Wise, an experienced chef who has run restaurants and pubs for years, hopes the move to a completely vegetarian menu will attract people from far afield to the Red Lion, in Great Bricett near Needham Market. It is thought to be the first exclusively vegetarian pub in the county and Mrs Wise, who took over last month, said the idea was proving popular at the tavern which dates back several hundred years
She is offering starters including sweet potato soup, roasted figs, mushroom, chestnut and Roquefort pate and nachos layered with tomato salsa and melted mozzarella and topped with guacamole and sour cream. Main meals include roasted aubergines, celeriac, leek and chestnut pie, spinach, chick pea and mushroom korma curry and roasted butternut squash, spinach and pine nut pancakes; and deserts feature raspberry cheesecake, chocolate brownies and blackberry and apple crumble.
Mrs Wise, who is striving to source food locally wherever possible, said: "We offer no meat at all. We did think about it, but wanted to be a vegetarian pub. "We have had a lot of support from people, most have been positive, although I am not sure if they are being polite.
"I gave up meat 20 years ago and never went back, it is a passion of mine. It's getting easier and easier to be vegetarian these days, more people, are aware and are cooking no meat. This is now a meat free place."
Lynda Robinson, from Stowmarket, who heard about the pub from a friend, said: "I usually like my meat and two vegetables, but this is a really good idea, and makes for a different experience. The menu is great.
"You don't have to be a vegetarian to try it, it can be as much a meal out as having as curry or a Chinese."
But Sue Marks, from Elmswell, said: "It's good to have a very good vegetarian option, so often it is lousy. But perhaps there could be options for meat eaters.
"A lot of men are not into vegetarianism and can't smoke inside either now. I have vegetarians in my family, and we all go out to eat together usually."
Sue Thomas-Taylor, a spokeswoman for Greene King, said: "The Red Lion's menu is a great move. As far as we know it's the first vegetarian pub in the county.
"It could fill a real gap in the market and the ability to do that is the hallmark of a great licensee. Good food, good beer and good company are the cornerstones of community pubs.
"The regular customers are very supportive, we're expecting to see real interest from people across the county and maybe even beyond."
To find out more, or to book a table, contact the Red Lion on 01473 657799. Greenstreet Green, Great Bricett, Needham Market, Suffolk, IP7 7DD