The White Lion Bar Review At The Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol

The White Lion bar in Bristol is in an enviable position overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Part of the Avon Gorge hotel, it has been recently refurbished after being bought by the Malmaison hotel group and recently I was invited to review the food.

My husband and I arrived on a Saturday afternoon to possibly the busiest bar I have ever seen in the daytime. There wasn't a free table anywhere and I was a little concerned about our reservation. I needn't have worried. We were greeted by an efficient waiter who found us a table, and who knew we were coming. A good sign!

We were given a menu and we sat and had a drink whilst discussing what we would have. The menu had a selection of pub classics like pizzas, burgers and ribs, but with a more upmarket feel. The ribs weren't any old ribs, they were Gloucester Old Spot ribs and the pizza choices included British artisan charcuterie pizza- so pub food with a side order of class.

Alex our assigned waiter then came over, introduced himself and took our order. He was very welcoming and although busy made an effort to chat to us, making us feel very welcome.

Mr W decided to have the tomato soup and one of the charcuterie pizzas and I decided to have the prawn cocktail and then the Normandy chicken.

Before our food came, we were given some tasty focaccia bread accompanied by olive oil, smoked butter and cashew nuts. The bread was delicious, with a smattering of salt and served with the olive oil and the smoked butter had a subtle smokey flavour and was an interesting choice. I didn't see the need for the chopped cashew nuts on the side but maybe that was just me. 

Then came our starters. The tomato soup tasted very fresh and light. I couldn't detect any cream in the soup so if you don't like anything heavy for lunch then this would be a great choice. The croutons added a fantastic crunch to the soup and the cheese and herbs were a little addition to add extra flavour when sprinkled on top.

The prawn cocktails was huge! Presented in a Kilner jar, a mix of prawns with avocado, lettuce and a Marie Rose sauce, it was a really lovely starter. The prawns were a mix of smaller and larger prawns and really juicy. The bread on the side was great to smother with the prawns mixture. Delicious.

After a brief interlude, our main courses arrived.

If I thought the prawn cocktail was large then I couldn't believe the size of the pizza, and neither could Mr W! This pizza was possibly the largest I have ever seen and that is no exaggeration. On the menu it does suggests you share but it could easily serve 4 people. Mr W was then cursing the fact that he had eaten the soup now!

The pizza base was relatively thin and the tomato sauce tasted authentic. The meat on the top was a selection of charcuterie meats, the type you would get in a deli, such as salami and other cured meats. I tried it too and we both thought that it was an excellent pizza.

My Normandy chicken was a dish of simple roast chicken, served with a tasty stuffing, roasted carrots and peas and a rich jus. I have to admit, though, it was different to what I expected. I thought it would be in an apple and cream sauce as Normandy chicken is usually in this style. The stuffing was yummy, a taste of pork and apple came through and the vegetables were good, not overcooked and with a buttery flavour. The jus was a very good gravy, really rich and slightly sweet.  

I ordered a side order of chips and although these were certainly tasty, I have to admit they weren't crispy at all, which was a tad disappointing. I think looking back I should have ordered the ribs for my main course, but that isn't a reflection on the quality of the dish.

After our mains,  we were both full to bursting so we declined desserts.  The black forest sundae did sound completely amazing though and other choices included apple pie and cream and triple chocolate fudge cake.

I hadn't visited The White Lion bar before but I loved the modern decor which had a nod to tradition. White tiles were the backdrop to the well-stocked bar and long wooden tables are perfect for groups of friends to chat and share food as well as smaller tables suitable for couples. Copper light fittings added a stylish touch.

After our meal we took a little walk outside to the terrace and were pleasantly surprised by the fantastic view.  I can see why this pub is a perfect venue when the weather is sunny as friends can congregate on the terrace with drinks and also have splendid views of Clifton Suspension Bridge.

I thought the food was well presented and the portions were large. The pizza was really very good and although priced at £16.95 it would have been perfect to share with a group of friends. The magic question is - would we go back? I would certainly visit again if I was in Bristol. Alex, the waiter was excellent and couldn't do enough for us, the food was much better than the averagebar food and with the breathtaking view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, it is certainly a place to go when you are in the area. Recommended.

The White Lion Bar
Avon Gorge Hotel
Sion Hill
Tel 0117 403 0210


  1. What a fantastic review! That pizza looks absolutely amazing!

  2. WOW that pizza is huge!!! I'm not surprised you didn't have desserts haha :) They sound yummy tho x

  3. Looks like a lovely and elegant place to visit. Food seems to be really delicious and worth trying:) Thank you for the recommendation.

  4. It looks lovely there, I really should visit Bristol again. I could eat bread and olive oil all day! :D

  5. Oh my god that pizza is HUGE!!! If only we were closer, it all looks amazing!

  6. The place looks amaxing and that pizza, get me to it now lol!

  7. yummmm the meals look amazing and it's a beautiful place! Need to visit it! x

  8. I like the look of the bread and the tomato soup , it looks delicious and that pizza is huge! Yum x

  9. This looks and sounds like a lovely place for lunch. That pizza is massive! Your prawn cocktail sounds delicious xx

  10. Oh wow, it looks great in here. The meal looks amazing. I love the look of the Pizza and prawn cocktail, I would have picked those :)

  11. I love the decor though I think the portion sizes would beat me. Mammoth!

  12. Sometimes a sign that somewhere is good is that it it busy and I am glad they knew you were coming. I would have squeezed in that black forest sundae LOL

  13. Love the way they presented the prawn cocktail. That pizza looks huge. Hubby works in Bristol so I've saved this for us to try one day x

    1. Yes fabulous presentation I thought too Kerry.