The Great British Roast – At the Balham Bowls Club @balhambowls #foodreview

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Ahhh the humble roast dinner… the staple Sunday meal for the best of British, whether it be pork, beef, lamb or even a nut roast, our expectations are high come 1pm onwards. But why do we love the Sunday lunch so much and where does it all originate from?

Well, there are apparently two origins:

1) During the industrial revolution, Yorkshire families left a cut of meat in the oven before going to church on a Sunday morning, which was then ready to eat by the time they arrived home at lunchtime.

2) The Sunday Roast dates back to medieval times, when the village serfs served the squire for six days a week. Then on the Sunday, after the morning church service, serfs would assemble in a field and practice their battle techniques and were rewarded with a feast of oxen roasted on a spit.

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Whatever its starting point, the Sunday Roast is still a firm favourite in modern day, and with the sun shining so beautifully yesterday, Snoochie Boochies went on the hunt for the best.

The criteria has to be this:

1) It must be in a traditional setting (if its not in your own home)

2) It must have roasted meat, roast potato or mashed potato, with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, stuffing,vegetables and gravy.

3) It mustn’t cost the world

4) It must fill the plate!

So what did we find this week?


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No longer a home for bowls, the Balham Bowls Club is now a quirky drinking and eating establishment within easy walking distance from Balham train and tube station. It feels like you’re in a slight time warp to an era pre 1970’s. It has original features, a cosy atmosphere, smiley bar staff and waiters and very British bunting hanging across the ceiling – Cath Kidston would be pleased!

Family friendly, Balham Bowls club is popular to customers of all ages, from regular drinkers, to those who fancy a game of Musical Bingo on a Thursday night; and to families looking for somewhere large enough to house a push-chair for a quick pit stop between shopping.

On a Sunday, it is advised to book in advance for a Sunday Roast. It’s a popular venue, so you wont often find a seat or table if you show up on the day itself. One of the downsides to its thriving business is that often food can take quite a long time to come out, but if you manage to book a sitting just before the rush (as we did) then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you actually can get the food.

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The selection of meat is impressively large with beef, lamb, pork, chicken and a vegetarian option, there’s definitely something for everyone. When the food arrives the plate is piled relatively high with your chosen meat, along with some lovely sides of cheesy cauliflower and red cabbage. One big shame is that the great yorkshire pudding is not included, and you can’t help but think that something definitely is missing. However the rest is more than enough for you to enjoy in one sitting, and a relaxing snooze is definitely on the cards when you get home.

To follow this up, we’d definitely recommend the scrumptious chocolate brownie or sticky toffee pudding, and at £4.50 it wont break the bank to treat yourself to a dessert. The final bill isn’t too alarming either. Look to pay (including tip) between £16-18 for a main and desert and around £22 if you fancy a tipple alongside it.

All in all, if the sun is shining and you really can’t bring yourself to slave away for hours to cook the perfect roast, then Balham Bowls Club is a great alternative, friendly, fun and something different from your average pub, its well worth a punt.

But of course, if you fancy taking the matter into your own hands, here’s a handy video from Gourmet Butcher Donald Russell on how to cook the perfect roast…

Happy Eating!


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