Feeling peckish on a warm weekday evening, my other half and I decided to meet for an after work bite to eat - not to mention a well deserved glass of wine.
The Yellow Lion at Aston is a traditional pub perched on Worksop Road on the way into Aston, just off the A57 and close to the M1 at junction 31.
Stepping indoors out of the bright sunlight my eyes adjusted to see that the place was bigger than I had imagined. But on this particular Tuesday teatime, it wasn’t bustling with customers.
There were a few pint-drinking punters at the bar and a scattering of people sat at tables.
We ordered drinks at the bar. A large glass of red for me, a pint of Farmer’s Blonde ale for him.
It was lovely and sunny, so we sat in the conservatory. The open doors looking out onto a patio and children’s play area. But as I became increasingly hot and flustered, I realised the radiator was on full blast next to my legs.
The menu featured a selection of meaty morsels ‘from the grill’ ranging from 8oz chicken breast for £7.95 to a mixed grill for £12.25.
And a choice of six gourmet burgers including a Mexican burger with spicy chilli con carne, sour cream and chives (£6.75), and the gut-busting Man Eater burger (£8.25) featuring two 6oz beef burgers, back bacon, barbecue sauce, melted cheddar and beer battered onion rings.
But being a bargain hunter it was the Two for £10 section that caught my eye.
From a list of 11 traditional pub favourites I made my choice - the delicious sounding handmade Pride of Peak sausages served with creamed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and fresh red onion gravy (£6.25).
For Liam, is was the traditional hand battered cod, described as a large fillet of cod in homemade beer batter, chunky chips and either mushy or garden peas (£7.25).
Menu in hand, I approached the bar to order. But I didn’t get much further as the barman told me they didn’t have the battered cod, only breaded haddock. Liam then had to choose his second option, the Man Eater burger.
Our food arrived in about 15 minutes, with a comment from the waiter: “I hope you’re hungry.”
Tucking in I was disappointed to find my potatoes were not the creamy delight the menu had promised. More like a dollop of slightly stiff microwaved mash.
Four sausages sat atop the mound. But their skins had split. It didn’t look attractive but they were herby and quite tasty.
The peas and carrots on the side were okay, a bit dry if anything. And I wonder if the gravy was actually ‘fresh red onion gravy’ or a popular brown brand beginning with ‘B’.
But in my hunger I wolfed it down. I’m just glad I didn’t order Liam’s burger. It looked dry and crumbly. And instead of cheddar cheese there was a square cheese slice inside.
But he didn’t complain, and finished the lot.
For me, what let the Yellow Lion down was a lack of atmosphere and complete absence of customer service.
My interactions with the two barmen on shift were typified by a series of grunts (from them, not me).
We were not asked if our food was okay. And when I requested a receipt as I paid up, there was an embarrassing kerfuffle while one member of staff tried to find a pen to write one out. Then he stopped and poured drinks for four other customers, keeping me waiting for what felt like an age.
The Yellow Lion is okay if you want a quick drink after work or a stodgy plate of pub grub. But that’s about it.