Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Sometimes, after a hard day down the salt mine, nothing less will do than a big plate of MEAT. Cat, ravenous from toiling at...

Sometimes, after a hard day down the salt mine, nothing less will do than a big plate of MEAT. Cat, ravenous from toiling at the day job, knew that this day, of all days, was going to be Red Meat Day and demanded to be taken to the nearest pub for meaty satisfaction.

The pub in question turned out to be Arreton’s White Lion. Matt and Cat wandered in to see if the food was as appealing as the exterior of this old coaching inn. They passed through the modest beer garden into the pub itself, finding that there was plenty of room both in the public bar and in the large eating area. They soon settled down with some drinks to look over the menu, which was supplemented by a generous specials board. The friendly landlady was pleased to answer questions about the food, and soon enough your reviewers placed their orders – both from the specials board, Matt choosing liver and bacon with red onion gravy; Cat disregarding her default choice of chicken, selected beef and mushroom casserole in a red onion and red wine sauce.

Beef and mushroom casserole in a red onion and red wine sauce

The food arrived after a short wait during which Matt and Cat sipped their drinks and enjoyed the quiet and civilised atmosphere. Cat’s beef casserole was an impressive sight – a huge steaming plateful, accompanied by a decent dish of freshly-cooked vegetables. The meat was beautiful and tender and not a fatty piece in sight. The sauce was nice and thick and extremely tasty – a great substrate for the delicious chunky chips.

Matt’s liver and bacon was hot, and garnished with a fine sprinkle of dried parsley, coming with a generous side salad which had the onion rings conveniently placed on top to make them easier to discard. Of the onion gravy nothing could be found.

Liver and bacon
Wot, no gravy?

Now liver and bacon is a delicious treat, but without gravy, it’s not a good meal, being far too dry to stand alone. After a suitable delay, it became apparent that no gravy was forthcoming. Cat ventured to the bar to enquire after it. It turned out that the liver and bacon had been the last one available and the gravy had run out. There was some possibility that they had been hoping this one last liver customer would not notice… if so, how wrong they were. But to redress the balance, the White Lion were suitably apologetic and certainly managed to produce some gravy in a little gravy-boat after a bit of delay, during which presumably the gravy was being cooked up. It was perhaps, more like gravy with onion floating in it than onion gravy. But overall it did the trick, and warmed up the tasty liver and bacon which by then was getting a little cool.

The White Lion was a good, solid pub, with plenty of food choice, generous portions and reasonable prices. The staff were amiable, the food was pleasant, and once the gravy was sorted out the experience was a satisfying one. And Cat got her meat portion…
The White Lion, Arreton

  • Steve Davis says:

    Went there for a prestigious booked 60th wedding anniversary with friends party of 8. Service was okish, quality of food very average with poor presentation just a chunk of white bread on the side of a very average fish pie. We ordered desserts only to be told the chef had run out of gas so could not have creme brulee (obviously no grill or salamander) none of our party will return

  • Philip says:

    6 of us, 3 couples went to the White Lion last Thursday for a lunch.My wife and I used to go there a lot a few years ago but it was one of those places that seemed to have lost its luster.
    What a lovely surprise we had.New owners have transformed the place.The decor is very tasteful and light and airy.Modern that fits in completely.
    Th staff were great, very friendly and helpful without going over the top.
    2 courses were £11.50 on the special lunch menu.Very well cooked and tasty food served just right.
    We will definitely be going back soon

  • Sean. says:

    An impromptu drive led to a surprising lunch on Saturday…the place has been revamped and is looking very good.

    The food, the gluten free menu options, the specials board all really good. I had the liver and bacon ala Cat – which came with a really tasty red wine gravy and at under a tenner I felt it was a big portion, the wifes bbq chicken was also served looking very good and tasted good with a really nicely dressed salad.

    Some nice touches like the ‘any choice of potatoes with any meal’ meant I had mash and wife had new potatoes and salad.

    We booked for a family birthday later this month

  • Keith says:

    We go to the White Lion at least once a week – and have never had a bad meal.
    The service is friendly, the portions generous – and the liver and bacon superb.
    Excellent value!

  • Jella says:

    Hi, I would just like to praise the lovely food and the friendly service we received on a recent visit to The White Lion at Arreton. I would also like to mention their ability to accommodate a Gluten Free diet. When I asked the very friendly landlord if a rather tasty curry was thickened with wheat flour, he told me that they use potato flour to thicken their curries and most of their other dishes. He also said that we could ask any of his staff and they would be happy to provide dish content information. Well done to The White Lion. We will definitely be eating there again.

  • Jim M says:

    Hi, I would like to redress the balance a bit here if I may. My family and I, and friends visit the IOW around 3 times a year and for many years we have been back time and again to the WHite Lion.
    We have tried many many different dishes at this pub and have never been disappointed, never.
    We have always received a friendly welcome and great service.
    The quality of the food has surpassed what we would expect from a gastro pub and we will be back again in 3 weeks time, eating at the Lion at least 3 times in the week we are here.
    We have tried many hosteleries on the island, and have had various successes and disappointments but the Lion has always delivered.
    I don’t doubt that the previous report is a true and accurate account of Chris’s experience, but i’d say give it another go Chris, hopefully it was just an unlucky day. I can be critical, and have been quite vocal at some venues, however we have had no need to worry at the White Lion to date.

  • Chris Melling says:

    We have holidayed at the IoW for the past 5yrs now and I can not say my experience of the White Lion was as satisfying your own.

    Our visit was at the end of July 2008, with my parents, my wife and our two children (1) & (5). We entered the pub via the car park at the rear and were greeted by a another family looking rather petrified in the small dingy childrens section at the bottom of the pub and the sign at the entrance to the bar ” NO CHILDREN PAST HERE”. The pub and restaurant were both extremely spacious, but empty, bar for two alcoholics perched at the bar who found it ammusing to shout and pass wind!, but still we were only allowed to eat in the pen they call the family area.

    I knew at this point we should have left and sought food elsewhere, but having not eaten for a few hours nor tried the White Lion, we decided to give it a go.

    There were no menue’s on any of the tables in the childrens section so my mother wen’t to the bar to obtain some, what she didn’t tell us until we had left the White Lion, is what had happened while she had been gone. Upon approaching the bar she asked the young pleasant gentleman serving if there were any menue’s, only for his answer to be drowned out by an old battle axe bellowing “He’s busy, they’re over there”!

    So without this knowledge we each chose our meal, ordered and waited. Then the meals arrived and were dished out by the waitress like a pack of playing cards. When asked if the jacket potato that my wife had ordered already had butter in, she replied ” I dunno I don’t make em”!! my wife then asked could she please ask the chef if this were the case, to which see begrudgingly agreed to do.

    My meal was the last to arrive (Sausage and onion baguette) and at last I would get to taste the Iow sausages as mentioned in the Iow – Eating Out Guide, how wrong was I!! The sausages may have been IoW in purchase, but not fresh, most likely from the frozen food isle in Netto, Lidl, Aldi, etc…. 100 bag for £1. Oh, yes and I must also add to this deep fried seperate to the onion’s.

    I think I have said enough to justify my displeasure with the White Lion and would not recomend this restaurant to anyone, most notably families. I will therefore conclude only by saying ” This was the first and the last time I will be visiting the White Lion”.

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