Essence at Old Red Lion Court
Essence at Old Red Lion Court

Essence at Old Red Lion Court

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.eatatessence.co.uk/stratford/index.html
  • Phone: 01789269999
  • Hours of Operation:


    Breakfast: Monday – Sunday: 10:00am – 12:00pm


    Lunch: Monday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm; Sunday: 12:00pm – 6:00pm


    Dinner: Monday – Saturday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm; Sunday: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Payment Options: Diners Club,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Modern European, British
  • Executive Chef: Chris Short
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Modern British Food - we buy the finest ingredients and sensitively create dishes for all to savour.
  • Private Party Facilities: We will close the restaurant for a private party and have 2 floors for you to enjoy. The main room can seat up to 70 guests for a sit down meal or up to 100 for a standing dining experience.


    We will create menus to suit your specific requirements.


    Weddings and birthday parties are welcome.
  • Private Party Contact: Chris 01789762764
  • Entertainment: Essence can offer exclusive use and is licensed for live music and dancing should you wish to celebrate a special evening in fabulous surroundings.


    We are able to create bespoke menus to suit all requirements.

Getting there

  • Public Transit:

    Public transport is regular and stops at the entrance to Old Red Lion Court which is where the restaurant is situated.

    The park and ride also stops at the same place.
  • Parking: Public Car Park
  • Parking Details:

    There are several public parking facilities within minutes of the restaurant and there is also street parking all around the area.
A word from Essence at Old Red Lion Court
Thank you for viewing our restaurant. If you choose to dine with us you can be assured of a warm welcome.

We prepare all our dishes onsite using the freshest ingredients possible. Our talented chefs make everything from our daily bread to our sumptuous ice creams and sorbets.

We take pride in getting to know our guests and their individual requirements and like to be able to give your visit our personal touch. The best way to do this is to give us a call or email us. We look forward to speaking with you and welcoming you soon.

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Essence at Old Red Lion Court reviews from OpenTable diners
11 reviews since 2 June 2014
Average Rating3.8
  • Food4.1
    Service3.6
  • Ambience3.5
    Value3.8
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
pre/post theatre (8)romance (2)disabled access (1)fit for foodies (1)special occasions (1)group bookings (1)outstanding value (1)Show More
  • Really good highly recommended
    JohnDiana
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    Pre-theatre meal with parents. Excellent menu, good service, really impressive food. I had a special for main course (duck breast with blackberry mash); the rest had meals from pre-theatre menu. All dishes well presented, good value and very enjoyable,. will definitely go back. Nice vegetarian and fish options.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great place to eat
    Frank
    Dined on 31/12/2013
    I booked the restaurant on New Years Eve for my wife and I. The staff, service and food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    romance, fit for foodies, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • New Year's Eve 2013
    JiminyCricket647
    Dined on 31/12/2013
    Warm greeting on arrival and seated in an acceptable spot in the restaurant. The orders for drinks and food were collected from us promptly, but the volume of customers and limited staffing of the kitchen meant that the wait for the food was a little protracted. However the quality of the food was excellent and we both enjoyed our main course. Dessert was to the same high quality as were after-dinner drinks. Waited a little while to get the bill but not unduly and staff were happy to recomend a suitable watering hole for us to move on to. Overall a very enjoyable evening.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good food, pleasant staff
    JoWise
    Dined on 19/10/2013
    we booked Essence at the last minute as we were visiting Stratford and didn't know the area so looked up somewhere with good ratings. Some of the reviews were negative but we found the place clean, friendly and the food good. The service was a bit slow but not so much we were annoyed by it, would be fine if you wanted a relaxed evening. We sat downstairs and felt that the decor and ambience left something to be desired. We decided it was because the restaurant is located in a courtyard and the large windows look out onto a lot of brick. Some blinds might make it feel a bit less like a showroom and a bit cozier and if it were my restaurant I would ditch the plastic covered menus as they give the feeling of a cheaper place.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very friendly and helpful
    Msjal
    Dined on 19/10/2013
    Very friendly and helpful service. Good value pre theatre menu with choices that suited everyone in a party of very mixed ages and tastes. We had a lovely bottle of Pinot noir too which was also very reasonably priced.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely meal
    K2Bush
    Dined on 12/10/2013
    Went as a group of 4 friends on Saturday night. Service was great - attentive but not 'in your face'. Staff were all very young but very friendly and professional. Food was great with a good choice for all courses. Would go again if in Stratford.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Expected far better
    Disappointed
    Dined on 12/10/2013
    After reading the reviews for this restaurant we expected to have a good quality meal in a new establishment trying to impress its clients to want to return. We have typically eaten at one of the more popular restaurants on Sheep Street but thought we would support a new venture. This proved a big mistake. I ordered from the main menu - one of the chef's regular main courses, and received a terrine of lamb fat and gristle - totally inedible. There was not one piece of lean lamb in the whole meal. The waitress apologised and we received £2 off a £45 bill! Needless to say, we won't be going back!
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 4 ratings-only reviews submitted since 2 June 2014
    • Average Rating4
    • Food4.3
    • Ambience3.3
    • Service3.8
    • Value3.8
  • The following 207 reviews are from the Essence at Old Red Lion Court reviews archive.
  • Great food and outstanding service
    Rekab26
    Dined on 28/9/2013
    Went to Essence for a pre-theatre meal. The young staff made us feel very welcome and had an excellent knowledge of the menu. The food was also delicious.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good value, good food, good service
    TeaAndDeeFromLeigh
    Dined on 27/9/2013
    Very competent cooking, good ingredients and an interesting choice on the menu. There are a number of good places to eat nearby in Stratford but this is one we are quite likely to go back to as the food is high quality and good value. It doesn't say you get veg on the menu with your mains but you do, and they are good.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Friday Lunch
    Stratforder
    Dined on 20/9/2013
    I have been to this restaurant before and have been very impressed. So much so that I recommended it to my husband for business meals and he was also impressed. However, my last visit wasn't quite so impressive. I wasn't quite so impressed with the presentation of the food however, the flavours were excellent. The service however, was a little lacking.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Good food.
    Kat1
    Dined on 18/8/2013
    The food and service were good. The wine seems to be overpriced though. Did not like the interior either.
    Special Features:
    Sunday lunch, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Been to this resturant many
    Lovinfood
    Dined on 18/8/2013
    Been to this resturant many years ago was not called eccence then it still is an excellent resturant , friendly staff excellent food and good value for money.
    Special Features:
    business meals, romance, child friendly, special occasions, group bookings, Sunday lunch
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Good food, great value and service!
    CaptHaddock
    Dined on 17/8/2013
    Pre-theatre dinner. Swift and courteous service. Starters good value, though not huge. I see this as an advantage, as the main courses were very generous portions. Unfortunately we did not have the time to sample the puddings. All food cooked from fresh, and it showed.
    Special Features:
    outstanding value, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good value pre-theatre supper
    lamanga5
    Dined on 17/8/2013
    The pre-theatre menu had relatively few options, but all were of a good quality and excellent value for money. The staff were friendly and helpful, and most importantly they made sure that we finished in time to get to the theatre
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options, group bookings, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Disappointing
    Melnik
    Dined on 16/8/2013
    We were very much looking forward to our meal at Essence, however the food was very disappointing indeed. The staff were very pleasant but the restaurant had no atmosphere at all.
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Great food, good value
    dine2gether
    Dined on 10/8/2013
    Thoroughly enjoyed our meal, went back the next day , but turned away as fully booked, which is a good sign of a great restaurant.
    Special Features:
    outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Food
    PaulW
    Dined on 1/8/2013
    Starting with the smoked haddock risotto and then the main course the whole experience was excellent. Food and service were outstanding. the only surprise was that it was not busy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasions, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Thoughtful service, great food
    pinkwigger
    Dined on 30/7/2013
    Really impressed with Essence. We went there for an anniversary meal so had hoped for something special and it didn't disappoint. The staff were kind, engaging and both knowledgeable and passionate about the food. The kitchen really understands food and how to put flavours together. Would recommend without hesitation and we will definitely retrn next time we're in Stratford.
    Special Features:
    romance, special occasions, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Brilliant Service, Great Food
    KeithyB
    Dined on 28/7/2013
    I ate here with my wife on our honeymoon and we really enjoyed it. The food was well cooked, the service was friendly and attentive and the venue itself creates a great atmosphere. We would definitely eat here again
    Special Features:
    romance, fit for foodies, special occasions, group bookings, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • perfectly cooked food
    chatterisgirl
    Dined on 27/7/2013
    This was a pre-theatre dinner, so we ate earlier than usual and the restaurant was quiet to begin with. The staff were very attentive, although I did ask for 'no ice' in my water but got it anyway. The food was very good - the scallops were perfectly cooked, and the pork belly was full of flavour. The Eton mess was lacking some sweetness to counteract the sharp berries in it. My husband felt a little constrained with the menu, as he felt it was more of a colder weather one rather than catering for the hot summer weather... but he did enjoy his fish (the chips were not as crispy as he would have cooked them) and crème brulee. The wines were good value, but the white we chose was not chilled down enough. I would eat here again & do recommend
    Special Features:
    business meals, romance, special occasions, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food at a good price
    Emeny
    Dined on 16/7/2013
    We had been here before and so we were keen to return. The food I'd excellent and proves very good value if you order from the pre-theatre menu. There is a kids menu too!
    Special Features:
    romance, child friendly, fit for foodies, special occasions, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    AERO
    Dined on 6/7/2013
    Lovely food, excellent service. Would highly recommend it. It was a bit hot downstairs but given the weather not surprising.
    Special Features:
    special occasions, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Worth a visit on a long vacation
    kennemone
    Dined on 25/6/2013
    The food was tasty, the decor was good, but the service was a bit ponderous. Overall it was a good experience, but there are better places in Stratford. But if you're staying in town for quite a while, eventually you'll run out of options, and this one is certainly better than the kebab shop.
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Freshly cooked and delicious.
    Scampigirl
    Dined on 15/6/2013
    We enjoyed selecting our freshly cooked meal from a varied menu. Food was well presented and delicious. Staff were friendly and we received good service, all at a reasonable price. Very convenient for theatre.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good vegetarian options, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unusually disappointing
    finedinerVIP
    Dined on 6/6/2013
    I hope this was a one off - but tonight Essence seemed ordinary. There was nothing wrong with the meal, it just didn't seem as special as usual - a lack of intense flavours that I normally enjoy here. The waiter seemed tired, so the usual banter was missing and for the first time ever I had to ask for water rather than have it brought as a matter of course.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great value in Stratford upon Avon
    alwayshungry2
    Dined on 31/5/2013
    My wife and I enjoyed an excellent meal at Essence in Stratford upon Avon; quality of food and service could not be faulted.We look forward to dining there again when next in the area.
    Special Features:
    romance, fit for foodies, special occasions, outstanding value, Sunday lunch, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Spot on
    Theatregoer
    Dined on 25/5/2013
    Excellent meal in a great location for the theatre.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good food. Not the best value.
    Miles
    Dined on 21/5/2013
    My family of five ate here while on a holiday. The food was very good but not outstanding. When We dine at this price point, we hope to be wowed. No wow but still very good. I was just left with a feeling of not getting my money's worth even for a tourist town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Fabulous Meal
    showdine
    Dined on 18/5/2013
    We went here for a pre theatre meal in Stratford. The food was excellent, especially the haddock and seafood tagliatelle. The waiter was very helpful and ensured that we would not be late for the show. Only wished we had more time in Stratford, as I would love to go back for a more leisurely meal.
    Special Features:
    romance, fit for foodies, special occasions, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • We were greeted warmly by
    birminghamcouple
    Dined on 11/5/2013
    We were greeted warmly by a maitre d who was red hot on service. He was appropriately warm and friendly. He made a real effort to interact with every customer and directed hiis staff so you wre made to feel very valued. . All other waiting staff were polite and excellent. The star course was the haddock risotto - excellent. Fish and chips were a little greasy for my fiances taste. I had the cod with shellfish risotto for main - also excellent. The portions were quite large so good value for money. Will go back.
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good for a nibble
    JJDeede
    Dined on 11/5/2013
    An interesting menu, but some meat dishes a little overdone. Nice ideas but not quite working - eg, black pudding crumble-topped mash - had too little black pudding, and was, well, basically just mash. Sauces were a little sparse on some main dishes. Duck lacked a crispy skin. Wine list not bad - a good Dao would have been nice, but the Chilean Merlot was fine. We liked the "nibbles" sharing plates - excellent whitebait, good tapenade, butters and homemade bread made a pleasant start to the meal. The main courses were pretty large, which meant we were all too full to add a dessert. A shame, as the menu looked inviting. What was unquestionably top-notch was the service - attentive, friendly and always timely. Worth another try, we thought.
    Special Features:
    good vegetarian options
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Definitely worth a visit
    AdeleD
    Dined on 5/5/2013
    Having booked Essence purely on the TopTable reviews, I can now only but add my own praise. Visiting Stratford for a birthday weekend we wanted to find somewhere special to eat, Essence did not disappoint. The setting is lovely, informal and relaxed, the staff were superb from the minute we arrived. The menu displayed creativity with an amazing choice for every pallet. The presentation and flavours with every one of the dishes was outstanding, I'm just sad that I do not live closer to visit more regularly!
    Special Features:
    business meals, romance, child friendly, fit for foodies, special occasions, good vegetarian options, outstanding value, Sunday lunch, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic meal
    CatherineR
    Dined on 27/4/2013
    We found this restaurant on Trip Advisor & were impressed with the reviews so decided to try it for ourselves. We were not disappointed. The service was excellent, warm, friendly and inviting whilst still being efficient and professional. The attention to detail was evident throughout the evening and we came away with wonderful memories & very full tummies!
    Special Features:
    business meals, romance, fit for foodies, special occasions, good vegetarian options, group bookings, outstanding value, Sunday lunch, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A lovely evening
    Catfink
    Dined on 26/4/2013
    We had a very enjoyable evening at Essence while visiting Stratford for a short break. The restaurant had a relaxed, comfortable feel and our waiter was very friendly and helpful. For a starter my husband liked his smoked haddock risotto but felt it could have been a little tastier (that's probably just a matter of taste). For the mains I had the cod with seafood risotto and my husband had the cod and chips (real chips). There was also a lovely big plate of vegetables. Both were delicious and the portions very generous, so much so that we couldn't manage a dessert although we were sorry when we saw how nice one looked being brought to another table. We will visit again next time we're in Stratford.
    Special Features:
    romance, special occasions, Sunday lunch, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food was good, but we were
    Phil
    Dined on 25/4/2013
    Food was good, but we were only diners (Thursday evening, late April), so atmosphere was non-existent. Very friendly owner and staff.
    Special Features:
    business meals, child friendly, pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful service meets great food
    Anjo
    Dined on 22/4/2013
    Stylish place, very comfortable, very pleasant and professional service and really lovely food - only family in that night, but we were made to feel special and will go back - too good to not go again!
    Special Features:
    child friendly, special occasions, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent food
    Jimbobm
    Dined on 20/4/2013
    We had a great meal, great atmosphere and really friendly an attentive staff. Would recommend essence to anyone including the most discerning restaurant goers. Have eaten in many Michelin star restaurants and this wold give several a run for there money.
    Special Features:
    romance, special occasions
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A good meal, above average service
    angelajanecharles
    Dined on 20/4/2013
    This was on a Saturday evening before the theatre. I booked online and was called by the management a couple of days later to suggest that we arrived a little earlier. This was unusual, much appreciated and turned out to be very sensible.The scallop starter was excellent, cooked to perfection and the belly pork slice crisp. A main course of lamb's liver was again perfectly cooked and the side dish of vegetables was nicely crunchy. My slow-cooked lamb with roasted root vegetables was fine, though quite heavy on the carrots. We shared some home-made icecream for pudding - vanilla, chocolate and maple. The vanilla was the best, we found the maple flavour wasn't quite pronounced enough, and the chocolate was very milky. But we would go again.
    Special Features:
    pre/post theatre
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food at reasonable price
    Rogpainter
    Dined on 19/4/2013
    Service good if a little gushing at times. Food excellent and very good value for Stratford.
    Special Features:
    special occasions, outstanding value
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
  • Wonderful Sunday Lunch - large
    Mary
    Dined on 14/4/2013
    Wonderful Sunday Lunch - large portions of quality food with excellent service. Do not think twice to visit it is an enjoyable experience.
    • Food
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Value
    I would recommend this to a friend.