Rating / :
Three Lions Cafe is a modern take on the classic English pub. It sits on the East-West border along the Broadway corridor in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood. British food generally gets a pretty bad rap, often being described as bland, boring and unimaginative. Three Lions Cafe appears to be a part of a growing trend in Vancouver that’s showcasing the best parts of what our cousins across the pond can conjure up in the kitchen.
(Top to Bottom: 1. Brie & Fig Toasty with a side of Chips. 2. Complimentary Zucchini bread with chili butter.)
I was tipped off to this place by a couple of coworkers, who were raving about finally discovering a proper British meal. Case and I headed out to see what Three Lions Cafe had in store for brunch. The updated, yet familiar pub-like dark wood interior was offset by the large waist to ceiling windows that wrapped around the restaurant, bathing the otherwise opaque interior with a sea of sunshine. The host was dressed so nondescript, he blended in with the rest of the patrons at the bar. Once seated, two brief menus printed very simply on plain white paper, were presented to us.
As soon as the menu hit the table, I was eyeing the classic English breakfast: two eggs, two slices of bacon, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans, toast and Lincolnshire sausage. I punked out and didn’t get the black pudding — not because it was black pudding — but because I figured the grocery list I just ordered for breakfast was already going to be a formidable challenge. Case ordered the brie, fig and arugula sandwich with a side of chips (that’s fries, not a bag of Old Dutch). We also had two cups of joe to start the morning off right.
(Clockwise from Top to Bottom: 1. The Belt Busting Classic English Breakfast. 2. Who would have thought grilled tomatoes could taste so good? 3. Obligatory bar shot.)
Before the meal began, our server brought out a tiny loaf of zucchini bread with a chili butter spread, which was an excellent appetizer to whet the palate. Case’s sandwich was awesome: the sweetness of the fig played wonderfully off the savoury brie. And the chips — well, they are some of the best we’ve had. My breakfast feast was completely off the hook. The hash browns were crispy, the sausage was perfectly seasoned and the thick slices of grilled tomatoes were the surprising star of the meal. The only disappointment was my over-easy eggs were overcooked, which seemed surprising to me since everything else was so well executed. The entire meal set us back at just around $30.
The dining room at Three Lions Cafe is adorned with numerous portraits of footballers, and the flat-screen television behind the bar was appropriately playing a game of soccer while modern punk music shook politely out the speaker system (it is, after all only 1 in the afternoon, not quite yet time for rowdiness). We’ve heard about their famed bangers and mash, meat pies — plus they have Guinness on tap, so I think Case and I will be paying Three Lions Cafe another visit soon.
Good old English comfort food, and to hang out with sophisticated soccer hooligans in a pub that you wouldn’t be afraid to wander into at midnight on a random weekend.
1 East Broadway #1, Vancouver