A couple of my cycling pals recommended to me The White Lion pub in Soberton, Hampshire. They told me that they’d been a couple of times for lunch and received such a warm and friendly welcome each time. So, it was added to ‘The List’.
Geoff and I decided to check it out and it wasn’t until we rounded the corner that I realised I had been here before, only for a coffee whilst out cycling with another group about a year ago and always meant to return.
Anyway, here we were, not cycling this time so we could have as much to eat as we wanted. Inside the decor is very nice and cosy with a fire in both the bar area and the restaurant – it was a chilly, rainy April day. Fresh flowers were on each table plus a large bunch in a vase on the window sill, old photos from around the local area upon the walls, a beamed ceiling and music playing in the background.
I had a nice glass of Rioja and Geoff a pint of Swift One from Bowman Ales, a local brewery just up the road from The White Lion.
We were told – without having to ask, which is good – that the soup of the day was courgette with Camembert croutons and the pie was steak & ale. How many times do you enter an establishment and have to ask what the soup of the day is and most of the time they don’t even know!
I chose the burger. Aargh, those damned wooden boards, they’ll be the death of me. My burger was served on one along with a silly piece of paper which just turned soggy and I’m sure I ate half of that by accident.
The burger could have done with a little seasoning as it was a little bland but nice enough and definitely seemed to be made with 100% beef which it said on the menu. Served in a lightly toasted seeded bun it came with cheese of your choice, cheddar, brie or Stilton, red onion, tomato, lettuce, a sliced gherkin with a small salad garnish on the side. The chips were of the skinny variety – which was just as well as I was on a diet 😉 – and very nice indeed, so too were Geoff’s thick cut chips.
Geoff had the pie of the day. The pastry was fresh and flaky and there was just the right amount of gravy for Geoff inside the pie so he didn’t need the pot of gravy served with it, although I probably would as I love gravy. His chips “exceeded expectations'” he said.
For dessert we both went for the syrup sponge with custard but all of the desserts I would’ve liked. An assiette would have been perfect! More places should have that choice I think and I would go for it every time.
The syrup sponge pudding was light and fluffy and the custard was nice and smooth, not of the lumpy kind thankfully. We weren’t too sure the syrup sponge was homemade but it was very nice nonetheless.
Funnily enough I returned only a couple of days later for lunch whilst out riding with the pals who’d told me how nice it was. We each had a fresh baguette, mine was prawn Marie rose which was good. My friends ordered the mozzarella and sun blushed tomato baguette which they’d also enjoyed on their last visit. Again, the staff were very cheerful and friendly.
The White Lion is an ‘independent traditional country pub in the beautiful Meon Valley’ who also have a few B&B rooms available in their ‘recently renovated Grade II listed stables and coach house’. There doesn’t appear to be a car park but there’s plenty of parking on the road. If I remember rightly from my first visit, at the rear is a garden with picnic benches.
Return? Yes, we already have.
Overall rating 7/10
Living life, loving cake