Sherman's Food Adventures: Three Lions Cafe

Three Lions Cafe

*Restaurant is now closed*

Do you know how hard it is to find a place to eat after hockey that is not Chinese? Well, honestly, it's not really that difficult; but when the venue is dependent on location, then it gets dicey. This is especially true when Gadget Girl vetoes every idea that is outside of Vancouver proper. What's with people being afraid of the burbs anyways? Hence we ended up looking at somewhere central in Vancouver. We settled on Three Lions Cafe, which is somewhat hidden on Broadway in between the endless supply of late night Asian joints. Since our game ended at a reasonable hour, the Canucks game was still in progress. Hence, that meant the Three Lions, much like an other pub, was packed. While driving there, I was listening to the game hoping it would end before we arrived. It did and people starting leaving as a result. Perfect! After a short wait, we were seated at a table without enough chairs for everyone. Milhouse and Lionel Hutz had to resort to bar stools until other chairs were vacated. Not a big deal really; however, the lack of food options was. You see, it was just after St. Patty's day and all their curry dishes, fish 'n chips, pie and Caesar salad were all sold out. This didn't sit well with some of our group; but we decided to stay anyways.

When we did finally get down to ordering, I went for some pretty basic items starting with the Curry Wings (at least one curry item was still available). These were fried too long in my opinion. The meat was dry and stringy. I did like the curry flavouring though. It was very pungent, littering the whole table with aroma. For me, it wasn't too spicy and provided enough curry kick. For my next item, I got the Egg and Chips. As the name suggests, there was a pile of fresh cut fries topped with a fried egg. It included a sausage and a side of baked beans. Although the fries were starchy and only slightly crisp, I still liked them for some reason. Maybe because I was just hungry? The fried egg was a fried egg and the beans were your typical sweet molasses baked beans. The sausage was not bad, quite meaty and not too fatty. Sweet Tooth, as her nickname suggests loves desserts; but they only had a bread pudding available, so she ended up passing on that and settled on a Beet Salad. Now for $13.00 (!), she was expecting a decently-sized dish. How wrong she was. Consisting of orange scented beets with grilled asparagus and crumbled goats cheese, the salad was plated nicely. Too bad it looked more like a work of art than actual food. She gobbled this up in 3 bites. Despite being quite nice in texture and flavour, the meager amount left a bad taste in her mouth.

The small portions didn't end there. Boss Woman decided to try their Daily Pizza which was spinach and goat cheese. Unfortunately, it looked more like a flatbread appetizer. To be fair, it was not that expensive, compared to the beet salad. She thought the crust was not bad being crisp and thin. However the pizza itself was bland, needing something else to bring the mild ingredients to life. Gordo decided on the most expensive item on the menu hoping for something more substantial - the Organic Hanger Steak and Chips. As stated on the menu, it is marinated in herbed extra virgin olive oil, grilled to medium rare (clearly it wasn't) and served with house made chips. Again, it was smallish in size and the steak was not of a pleasing colour. It really need more charring. Despite the great sounding marinade, the steak was not all that flavourful, from the herbs or meat taste. Since there was a lack of choices, Emilicious, Gadget Girl and Lionel Hutz all had the Three Lions Burger. Yikes, three of the same thing! The horror! The consensus from everyone was that the burger patty ended up to be a little dry despite being quite thick. The dry, crumbly bun didn't help things either. With that being said, the meat was not oily (hence the dryness), and did have good flavour.

Finally, the very last dish happened to appear to be the best value of the bunch. Milhouse, having visited Three Lions before, ordered his favourite - Bangers and Mash. Consisting of Cumberland sausage served with buttermilk mash, onion gravy and Yorkshire pudding, this was a sight to behold. With Yorkshire pudding that looked more like a parachute, it was the only dish that wasn't completely finished by the end of the meal. The sausages were very meaty and went well with the rich flavourful gravy. That was probably the best dish of the meal because everything else was just "alright". Of course we didn't get to try some of their other items since they were out. However, we all generally felt that the portion size (bangers & mash withstanding) was too small for the price. I've heard great things about their brunch and maybe I have to do a revisit to get a more complete picture of the place.

The Good:
- Interesting items on the menu (too bad most were sold out)
- Lively atmosphere at night

The Bad:
- Portion-to-price ratio was not particularly good
- Very tight arrangements inside

Three Lions Cafe on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Oh.... I'd be so angry about that salad, not to mention the other food ... I like the presentation too, but that's just a rip-off. I suppose in a British Pub you are best off to go with the traditional fare since they know what they are doing with it better than other types of foods, I suppose.

Sherman Chan said...

Yah, we were disappointed at our visit to be honest. Very underwhelming. But we'll give them another chance since many of their items were not available. Plus their brunch is highly regarded.

Anonymous said...

That hangar steak is not medium rare!

Sherman Chan said...

Yup, you're absolutely right. The medium rare part is in the description on the menu. They couldn't even get that right. Disappointing...

Carolyn said...

I'm honestly quite surprised to see the portion sizes they offered you. I've been there many times myself, I've never left hungry, and I have a big appetite. Maybe they just simply ran out of ingredients?? I hope they were just having an off night, because I really do love that space! The brunch is just terrific!

Daily Slif said...

I agree with Carolyn - I've been there a few times and our portion sizes were quite big! Decently priced as well. That being said, I've only been there during the day... give them another shot if you can

Sherman Chan said...

@Carolyn & @Daily Slif I agree with you. I was surprised too considering what I've heard. However, as you see in the pictures, it was as such. Very strange. I am willing to return for their brunch though since it's been mainly positive from many people.

Charlie5 said...

do you all know how expensive beets, asparagus and goat cheese are??? my god! and to the person that posted nit picky!! give the poor little old kitchen and pub a break! in terms of the price point, it was very reasonable! had the prices been any cheaper the place would have closed alot sooner.

Sherman Chan said...

@Charlie5 I hope you don't work for Three Lions because this is your only comment on this account. And if you did, you would realize that the raw material costs for that dish is no more than $4 and that is taking into account using prices from retail outlets. They are probably supplied by GFS, so it would be closer to $3 in raw materials. So you're trying to tell me that there is $10 in other costs (staff, rent, electricity, taxes, gas etc...)? I know the general rule is that a restaurant should not have food costs more than 30% of their costs, should be closer to 20%. Of course there must be a markup built in for profit because a restaurant is out to make money after all. But with the portion that Sweet Tooth ate, it was pretty poor value. We've been to many restaurants and this was one of the smallest portions we've seen for the price. Granted, we've seen smaller, but those were at FINE DINING establishments with higher overhead costs. Both my grandparents ran restaurants and so did my father-in-law. I realize that there is a lot of costs involved in presenting a particular dish to the customer. With that in mind, in our opinion (which is not only mine, we had 7 people at our table), this was not a good value considering all the factors I have just mentioned.

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