The Red Lion and Sun

25 North Road, Highgate, N6 4BE

WLC Rank : 77

Food Type Cuisine: British

Glass PriceGlass from : £ 5 (125 ml)

+44 (0)20 8340 1780

www.theredlionandsun.com

info@theredlionandsun.com

BEST FOR

A wine aware landlord
Special order langoustines
Two gardens and log fires
Countertop Enomatic featuring the likes of Bibi Graetz’s Soffocone
Remarkable shop sales

A brilliant, revitalised, stalwart pub with Asian flourishes in dishes, a top Sunday roast, and depthful list, including retail, supplied by Bibendum.

REVIEWS

Review 2019

Highgate’s handsome Red Lion & Sun has been spruced up, with emphasis on the kitchen – fitting an investment given it garnered Best Wine Pub and Best UK Pub at the 2018 Great British Pub Awards.

Ebullient, direct, even slightly mischievous landlord, Heath Ball runs the pub with his ‘viking shieldmaiden’ wife, Sofia. Ball grew up in New Zealand’s hospitality industry – his grandfather having opened the country’s first hamburger restaurant in 1939, being the first place to sell Coca Cola in New Zealand. He left the Land of the Long White Cloud in 1993, gaining experience in bars and restaurants across Australia, the USA and Europe. And in London, he worked for Hugh ‘Sooty’ Corbett, the mind behind Slug & Lettuce and Harvey Floorbangers.

Ball’s first business in the UK was the Drunken Monkey, Shoreditch when it was ‘frontier territory’. He took over Highgate’s Red Lion and Sun in 2007, followed by The Wenlock Arms six years later, saved from the wrecking ball, restoring it to become one of the capital’s best-loved real ale pubs, starring 10 cask ales, 20 keg lines and seven real ciders.

Balls’ wine list features predominantly family-run producers, preferably demonstrating minimal intervention, ‘without making a song and dance about it.’ Core producers may include Kopp Spätburgunder from Baden filed under the category, ‘strange blends, interesting varietals and regions’, and, noticeably similar of label to that of Château Figeac, Strydom Rock Star Syrah from Stellenbosch (‘smooth and fruity’), alongside Josef Chromy’s Delikāt Riesling from Tasmania, which at just 7.5% alcohol but 60g per litre of sugar is, advises Ball, ‘the perfect sidekick for spicy dishes like the jerk chicken and plantain.’ Other dishes may include Jersey rock oysters with Cabernet Sauvignon shallot dressing, coconut, turmeric, ginger, chilli and lime leaf broth with roast carrots, swede, parsnips and wild rice, and, perhaps in homage to his grandfather, a cheeseburger with hand-cut chips. Ball will also order in impeccable langoustines on request.

From Ball’s homeland, expect measured Sauvignon Blanc from Craggy Range and soulful Pinot Noirs from his extremely good friend, Paul Pujol’s Prophet’s Rock. Indeed, half-French Pujol and Ball took a trip to Burgundy, staying with Françoise Millet, the mind behind the exquisite Prophet’s Rock Pinot Noir Cuvée Aux Antipodes and his wife Michelle at their Musigny abode. ‘A magical trip, Françoise took us to the vineyards which he looks after at Domaine Comte George de Vogüe. I still smile thinking of it. And if you’re having trouble sleeping you can see photos from the trip on my Instagram (@Pubhobbit).’

An Enomatic upon the bar counter holds great appeal, be they the wines of David Sampedro’s Bodegas Bhilar or an older Château Talbot, and it seems Ball always harbours a few off-carte bottles for guests in thrall to the wine bug out back.

By Douglas Blyde.

Review 2018

“I’m looking for wines from family or privately owned producers,” says the ebullient and direct Heath Ball, who goes by the nickname, ‘Pub Hobbit’ on social media. “Preferably minimal intervention, without making a song and dance about it,” he adds. “Drinkable wines which excite the customer without needlessly challenging them…”

Harking from New Zealand, Ball grew up in the hospitality industry, his grandfather having opened the country’s first hamburger restaurant in 1939, ‘which was the first place to sell Coca Cola in New Zealand.”

He left the Land of the Long White Cloud in 1993, working in bars and restaurants across Australia, the USA and Europe. In London, he worked for Hugh ‘Sooty’ Corbett, the mind behind chains, Slug & Lettuce and Harvey Floorbangers. Ball’s first business in the UK was the Drunken Monkey in Shoreditch when it was, he notes, considered frontier territory rather than the relentlessly hip hangout of today. Ball opened Highgate’s The Red Lion and Sun in 2007, followed by The Wenlock Arms six years on, which he saved from the wrecking ball, restoring it to become one of the capital’s best-loved real ale pubs.

Core wines at The Red Lion and Sun may include Ridgeview’s Fitzrovia Brut Rosé, Josef Chromy’s Delikāt Riesling from Tasmania, which at just 7.5% alcohol but 60g per litre of sugar is, advises Ball, “the perfect side kick for spicy dishes like the jerk chicken”.

From Ball’s homeland, expect soulful Pinot Noirs from Paul Pujol’s Prophet’s Rock. Adult rosés, meanwhile, could include Chile’s Garage Wine Co. Old Vine Pale. This selection is supplemented by an off-list cellar full of bin ends and rested bottles, made available to guests at Ball’s discretion, some of which are trailed on Instagram.

Other dishes may include Jersey rock oysters with Cabernet Sauvignon dressing, coconut, turmeric, ginger, chilli and lime leaf broth with roast carrots, swede, parsnips and wild rice, and, perhaps in homage to his grandfather, a cheeseburger with hand-cut chips. Ball will also order in impeccable langoustines on request.

An enomatic on show upon the bar counter may include a reasonably priced tasting flight of the vital wines of David Sampedro’s Bodegas Bhilar.

“Everything is done by hand,” says Ball of the former rugby player’s marginally located holdings. “The vineyards are incredibly old and very low-yielding and David uses horses to plow his land – a practice unheard of in modern Rioja…”

By Douglas Blyde.

WLC Overall Score 90.5

Value
91
Size
88
Range
91
Originality
90
Service
92.5

WLC Overall Rank : 77

Food Type Cuisine: British

Glass PriceGlass from : £ 5 (125 ml)

+44 (0)20 8340 1780

www.theredlionandsun.com

info@theredlionandsun.com

Sommelier