Saturday, 3 March 2012

The White Lion Cafe - Norwich

Align Centre
Now closed under current owners.
 Parkside School are taking over and plan to open to the public at the end of February. I will revisit sometime again in the future with an updated write up.

17a White lion Street

Opening hours
Monday - Saturday
9.00am - 4.30pm

Breakfast served till 11am

From the outside it is quite difficult to imagine what it will be like inside.

The fact they served a Full English was enough to lure me in. I was curious about Steve's amazing sausage rolls too!

Inside it is impressive, has a good size seating area and open plan kitchen.

It was 40 minutes after breakfast had stopped being served but they were happy to still let us order one.

Tea was just £1.60 and served nicely in a pot.

The coffee was great and just £1.60 too.

Spotlessly clean cutlery is always a welcome sight.

Sauces are served in pots and if you need more it is not a problem.

This is the beautifully presented and delicious White Lion Full English.

The juicy free range cumberland sausages are incredibly nice.

A perfect fried egg served on toasted sour dough, homemade baked beans and baby tomatoes served on the vine, top stuff!

This is the veggie Full English, I had never seen such perfect poached eggs, the bean sausage is homemade and mushroom fans will be in mushroom heaven.

Steve's homemade sausage rolls looked out of this world so we bought some to try later.

The sausage rolls cost £1.70 and I have never tasted such an amazing sausage roll before in my life, ever! A subtle and tasty fine pastry surrounds the huge moist sausage meat filling that has the perfect mix of herbs and onions. You must try one they are so good, well done Steve!!

About a month ago whilst having a coffee in Greggs on White Lion Street I noticed The White Lion Cafe out of the window. I had a quick look as I passed but didn't notice any breakfast options, then a few weeks later I spotted on their facebook page that they were now serving a Full English!! Time to pop in and give it a look then...

Upon entering - To be honest based on the entrance I was expecting to walk into a fairly standard cafe upstairs, how wrong I was! The cafe is contemporary, well laid out and looks amazing, a counter and open plan kitchen run along the back with a large seating area in front of that. There are menu's behind the counter so place your order, pay and find a table, everything is bought over to you including sauces if you need them. 8/10

Service - The staff here were very friendly and helpful, we arrived 40 minutes after breakfast had finished but they were still happy to serve us (we were told that provided they are not really busy then they are happy to serve breakfast a little later.) We were given the option of fried or poached eggs and were asked if we wanted any sauces, these were bought over in pots and when we requested a bit more ketchup it was not a problem at all. The hot drinks and cutlery were bought over first then a bit later the food arrived. 9/10

Contents - 2 free range cumberland sausages, 2 free range rashers of smoked bacon, 1 free range egg (poached or fried), grilled baby tomatoes on the vine, home made baked beans and a slice of toasted sourdough. 7/10

Presentation - When it arrived it looked stunning and the baby tomatoes on the vine were a really nice touch. 9/10

The food - The sausages were about as good as they can get, juicy, full of flavour and a complete pleasure to eat! The bacon rashers were huge and equally as impressive as the sausages, I hadn't tasted bacon this good in a long time. The fried egg was perfect and accompanied the fantastic toasted sour dough really nicely. The vine of grilled baby tomatoes was perfectly cooked and tasted so nice and sweet. The baked beans were homemade and nicely mixed with kidney beans and onions in a delicious but subtle tomato sauce. I don't think the food on my plate could have been cooked any nicer so.. 10/10

Value for money - £6.00 for a truly delicious breakfast using quality ingredients served in a great environment by friendly staff is money well spent and worth every penny! 9/10

Veggie option - Vegetarians are well looked after here, £5.20 gets you the Veggie Full English - 2 free range eggs (poached or fried), homemade bean sausage, grilled baby tomatoes on the vine, grilled flat mushroom, homemade baked beans and a slice of toasted sourdough.

Overall - What a great place, friendly staff, good service and delicious tasting homemade food at a reasonable price. There are a number of places in Norwich serving the more "up-market" Full English and this place is doing it incredibly well. You could easily walk past and not even notice it so be sure to pop in and try the great food being served there. Oh yeah.. don't forget to try those truly sensational sausage rolls too! 9/10

- Update, Jan 2013 -

Today I popped in for some lunch and was delighted to find the excellent sausage roll being served with homemade baked beans, salad and a delicious relish for just £5! 

A friend emailed this photo of the veggie breakfast served with fried eggs.


  1. I have visited the white lion cafe and I think its amazing. very kind friendly staff and wonderful tasting food. i like the balance of tasty treats and hearty meals so for my lunch break this is perfect.

  2. The poached eggs look like they've used my favorite method - clingfilm!

  3. Not familiar with the clingfilm method, how does that work?

  4. georgia @ the white lion cafe5 March 2012 at 14:38

    Dear mr fry up inspector, thank you so much for such an amazing review of our cafe, it is the first review we have had and we are over the moon that it was such a pleasant experience for you and your partner.
    Glad you liked the sausage rolls as well, they are becoming quite famous round Norwich! And believe me there is no cling film in sight, Steve is truly a talented chef!

  5. Your welcome Georgia! It was a real pleasure eating breakfast at the White Lion Cafe, you are all doing a fantastic job, keep up the good work!!

  6. My son is raving about your cafe. He visits many in his travels around Norfolk and Suffolk and is desperate for me to visit and eat soon. Are you open on Bank Holiday Monday? I am gluten free - he assures me you have many menus that are. Well done good luck will be there on my next visit to Norwich!

  7. Linda and Bruce27 April 2012 at 12:20

    We visited the cafe the 1st day they openned and been back a couple of times since...well worth the climb up the stairs (we are a pair of over sixties so an effort for us).....we always have the amazing sausage roll option as so different from any other, absolutely delicious. Very friendly/helpful/clean etc.

  8. One word 'Fantastic'. I have to say that this is definitely the best yet! Shall be going back and this time to eat in! Superb.

  9. Nice place excellent food thoughtfully sourced prepared and served in a clean spacious enviroment, fresh ground de-caff not available though GROUND CAFE still top of my list for this. but this cafe hosts Cafe Conversations through the UEA so 10/10 for involvment in a worthwhile enterprise. Stairs stopped my father visiting though. Overall an excellent cafe.

  10. Sorry I missed your question - I discovered they don't actually use the clingfilm method, which was a shock! It involves lining a cup with clingfilm, cracking an egg into it, twisting the clingfilm closed, and dropping it into simmering water. Perfect poaching.

    I asked how he does it without clingfilm, and the lass said she had no idea!

  11. They're doing something right if they can get me to not leave the beans out. Way better than your standard baked beans and an absolute pleasure to eat.

  12. Agree with most of this, but though the beans were very nice, IMHO I don't think they work with the breakfast. That said, lovely sausages and the nicest tomatoes I've tasted in ages. Also they were happy to make supstitutions / additions, and it took a reassuringly long time from order to food, meaning everything was cooked from scratch; I hate it when you order a full English, and it is with you in the time it takes to fry an egg!

    The service did seem a bit chaotic though, dispite the fact there was a couple of people behind me, I was being served by three people (one to put water in the tea pot, one to put the lid on and put it on the counter, another to put it on the try), four if you count the chef!

  13. I ate here twice last week, having the full English on both occasions.

    Would recommend it and what the inspector wrote is pretty much how I found it.

    Will go again next time i'm in Norwich.

  14. I tried the sausage roll there last time i visited norwich, it was amazing, its quite a hidden gem that cafe! will have to try to fry up next time

    1. I love the sausage rolls and yes, a hidden gem for sure!!

  15. Just been in myself . This is a quality place, that is also not expensive. Far better than most. Especially those so called trendy chains round the corner. Well done keep up the good work.