A SUNDAY with little to do seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet up with my brother and go out for a good pub lunch.

Although it’s only been a few weeks since Christmas, and we only live 10 minutes away from each other, it was so hectic it felt like we’d only seen each other for about 10 minutes over the festive season, and we were overdue a proper catch-up.

It didn’t take us long to decide on an old favourite, albeit somewhere we hadn’t been for a few years - The Red Lion in Dodleston.

Our grandparents used to live in the rural Cheshire village, just outside of Chester, a place of many happy childhood memories.

Located just off the main road through the village, the clean white exterior of the 18th century stone-built pub was extremely inviting

on a cold winter’s day.

It was about 1pm, and as we entered and saw the large bar and restaurant area close to filling up, busy with large family groups, we wondered whether we should have booked ahead.

But we needn’t have worried as staff did their best to accommodate us and found a spot around the corner, near the bar.

The interior of the pub reflects its countryside setting, with ceiling beams, a real fire and plenty of charming rustic elements to the decor.

Both of us went straight for mains, and burgers. My brother went for the Aberdeen Angus, while I chose the Wagyu.

It may have been because we were so busy talking, but it seemed our meals arrived at our table swiftly after our drinks - the Aberdeen Angus with a side of bacon relish, and the Wagyu with a spicy tomato salsa dip, and triple cooked chips.

We both agreed the burgers, which came in brioche buns with salad, were cooked to perfection and tasty enough to rival any of the chain restaurants which pride their reputations on the quality of their own similar offerings.

There were no complaints about either meal, and while very filling, left plenty of room for pudding.

Great minds think alike, and we both settled on the warm chocolate brownies with a serving of ice cream.

Admittedly it is a pudding which is difficult to get wrong, but they can be too sweet or sickly in other establishments.

Not here though, they were the perfect way to round off a good lunch and a good natter.

Putting nostalgia to one side, it was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Despite being a large pub it has a really cosy atmosphere and feel to it, perhaps due to the number of families there, the polite, friendly and attentive staff, and the sound of people chattering away in the background rather than loud and intrusive music.

I would recommend it as detour to anyone passing through on the way to or from Chester as a comfortable, relaxing, welcoming place to eat and get away from the hustle and bustle of elsewhere.

How it rated:

The Red Lion, Church Road, Dodleston, Chester. Tel: 01244 661636

Ambience – 9/10

Service – 9/10

Food quality – 9/10

Children welcome – yes

Disabled access – yes