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Review: The Lion Hotel, Belper

You know when you really fancy something specific to eat, and nothing else hits quite right? Well, I've been feeling like that about freshly stone-baked pizza for a week or so and, as a vegan, it's not super easy to find somewhere that caters for me without massively compromising taste.

Famed for its family-friendly pizza menu and mouth-watering Sunday roasts, The Lion Hotel is a great combination of a bustling bar area, peaceful pizza room, beautiful function areas suitable for wedding receptions and celebrations, and an elegant outdoor courtyard area.

On arrival, my husband, my 16 month old and I were shown through to the pizzeria which was drenched in sunshine and smelled amazing! We received a warm welcome, and were brought a freshly wiped down high chair. We could see the pizza chef busily prepping fresh dough bases and the waiting staff delivering drinks to the handful of tables that were already occupied. We chose to book our table for 5.30pm to round off our lovely family weekend out and about, and ordered a Thornbridge Sequoia and a medium glass of white wine to celebrate the occasion (as we don't tend to eat out much!).

The menu is packed with delicious-sounding meals, light bites, sides and Sunday specials but we both chose pizza (I had the vegan option with red onion, artichokes, mushrooms and vegan cheese, and Joe had the chicken shawarma pizza with marinated chicken, jalapenos, and mint yoghurt). No meal is complete without sweet potato fries, and we also ordered a mixed salad for balance. Our little one wouldn't have managed a whole children's meal, but we knew she'd have a good go at a piece of pizza or two. Without asking, the very sweet waitress brought us a side plate and we were pleasantly surprised at how quickly our delicious order arrived. The pizzas looked incredible (see pics) and we couldn't wait to dig in.

We took our time and enjoyed every bite, imagining we were on holiday as the warmth of the evening sunshine flooded through the blinds at the front of the building. Our little one chomped her way through a couple of pieces of pizza, some cucumber and tomato from my salad and a handful of cooled fries. We brought her own drink, and a satsuma (her current obsession) which we gave her throughout our meal.

Each table that arrived was served quickly and all of the food looked great - particularly the Yorkshire puddings!

Whilst we looked at the dessert menu, (unfortunately) we didn't quite have room so opted for another soft drink and enjoyed reading a book with little one before leaving to get her into her pyjamas.

Friendly staff, quick service, delicious pizza and lovely atmosphere.

Our bill:

Wine £5.25

Beer £4.90

Chicken pizza £14

Vegan pizza £12

Sweet potato fries £5.50

Mixed salad £3

Lime and soda £2

Pepsi £2.50

Tip/service charge

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