Chris Maguire decided to visit the region’s newest restaurant - The Leyland Lion - en route to France
“I could murder a brew.”
They were the first words of the elderly lady who plonked herself at the table next to me with a big sigh at the newly-opened The Leyland Lion.
Anticipation reached fever-pitch in advance of the arrival of the new Wetherspoons pub in the former Post Office premises in Hough Lane, Leyland, and it’s already proved a massive hit.
Anyway, back to me fellow diner with the loud voice.
Seconds after placing the order the waitress (who I discovered had become a gran the previous night) delivered a cup of tea to the table.
“Ooh that’s luvvvvvvely,” said the lady as she took a big slurp in a voice the was so loud that it could be heard in Chorley.
She was a delightful lady and I enjoyed a bit of banter with her but she’s the reason why The Leyland Lion will be so popular.
It was midday on Tuesday and I was there with my family.
She was there with her elderly companions looking at the value deals on offer.
Around the corner were several drinkers enjoying an early pint.
Three different target audiences happily co-existing under the one roof.
On Friday night the clientele changes again because The Leyland Lion caters for everybody.
I was there out of curiosity and the need to fill up ahead of a flight to France on board the no frills airline Ryanair.
(Anyone who wants to know how Ryanair can offer such cheap flights should check out the cost of the menu or the charge for excess luggage!)
Back to The Leyland Lion.
If you remember it when it was the Spar/Post Office, you won’t recognise it now.
The transformation is little short of amazing.
Wetherspoons knows what it is (i.e good food at cheap prices) but they’ve made a real effort to celebrate the town’s association with Leyland Trucks through the way they’ve decorated the venue.
It’s quirky. I went into the beer garden and was struck by the sight of a red phone box.
“What’s that dad?” asked one youngster pointing at it.
“That’s a phone box son,” said his dad, who was enjoying a cheeky smoke. “That’s where people made their calls before mobile phones.”
Nostalgia. Love it.
As for the food my schoolboy error was arriving just before midday and trying to order from the mains menu.
“Breakfast menu before 12 only,” said the young lady politely from behind the bar.
“I can talk to you for 10 minutes but you’d soon get bored,” I mused and she immediately took my order.
With a week of French food ahead of me I knew what I wanted.
“Chicken burger and chips with extra BBQ sauce,” I said. The burger was £5.10. The BBQ sauce was 79p but I was on holiday so I pushed the boat out.
Mrs M had the haddock fish cakes (£5.20) while my daughters had sausage and mash for £3.49.
Jamie Oliver might not approve of the food but it was tasty, filling and inexpensive.
We cleared our plates in no time and nobody could quibble at the price to feed a family of four - £20.77.
The Leyland Lion has been heaving with business and I’m not surprised.
As I walked out of the front door it suddenly struck me. “I could murder a brew.”
Name: The Leyland Lion
Address: 60 Hough Lane, Leyland, PR25 2SA
Contact: 01772 643990
Opening hours: Sun-Thur: 8am to midnight. Fri-Sat: 8am to 1am.