For years, the White Lion has been one of my favorite hidden treasures in Tulsa. It’s impossible to stumble upon this British pub, hidden on side streets near 71st and Yale. You must go there on purpose, in pursuit of delicious, savory, proper English pub food.
The White Lion is everything a British pub should be, and quite reminiscent of the pubs I’ve visited in London and Farnham. As you enter the pub, you are greeted by two white lions guarding the doorway. The restaurant is essentially a large, dimly-lit house filled with British artifacts and dark wood dining tables. Many of the tables are marked with the name of a clan or individual, so naturally, I always try to choose the table marked “The Lindsay Clan.” Diners can choose between a few different rooms to feast in, though no choice is a bad one.
If you’re not familiar with British food, allow me to provide a quick tutorial. The Brits are not traditionally well-versed in spices. This is good, hearty food, though. This is the kind of food that will stick to your ribs — Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Steak & Mushroom Pie, Cottage Pie, and so on.
On this particular visit, we decided to spring for a tantalizing starter: Sausage Rolls — flaky layers of pastry surrounding bits of sausage. They pair quite well with HP — a British version of A1 Steak Sauce. By the way, one of my other favorite starters at the White Lion is Baked Brie, served with green apples. It’s a real treat, and probably some of the best brie in the Tulsa area. With the appetizer demolished, our palates were prepped for the substantial main course.
My husband chose the standard Bangers and Mash (sausages with a crispy encasing served with mashed potatoes). He couldn’t wipe the smile off his little British-loving face, so I would say the choice was a hit. I chose the Special for the evening: Crab Cakes. Mind you, I was a little hesitant ordering crab cakes in Tulsa. This is not Baltimore or Maine, after all; the closest fresh crabs are a day’s drive away. But I decided to brave the unknown and try Tulsa British-style crab cakes.
My courage was rewarded with two huge, seasoned crab cakes covered with a tasty herb cream sauce. The plate also included mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. By the end of our meals, we were both so entirely satiated that we had to decline the kind waitress’ offer of dessert. Among her tempting options were Chocolate Cake with Cream Sauce, French Silk Pie, and Lemon Ice, just so you know.
The White Lion also offers plenty of British and Irish beers on tap, including Boddingtons, John Smiths, Old Speckled Hen, Beamish, Harp and Guinness.
The White Lion is a must for any Tulsan to try. The meal is affordable (about $10/plate) and the setting is unforgettable. To top it off, the wait staff is completely endearing, particularly Betty, the owner (from Bonny England, of course) who is the visionary behind the whole operation.