BY PALOMA LACY
Pubs wear their family-friendly credentials as a badge of honour and while most claim to be, many often aren’t.
The Bolingbroke, however, is truly the kind of place the whole family can come.
Dinner service begins at 6pm and when I arrived 15 minutes later, nervous that the presence of my little one wouldn’t perhaps be welcomed by the Friday night post-work crowd, every other customer was a child.
Parents looking for a break from the kitchen had brought the family in for an early tea and by 7.30pm, my daughter was the last one remaining.
The Bolingbroke is offering 50 per cent off on food Monday to Friday, lunch and dinner, during August, which has no doubt boosted family footfall.
The kids’ menu is rather impressive – and passed the acid test – would I eat from it? The speedy answer to that is yes.
Dinner is served to children between 6pm and 8pm, by which time, I assume the pub wants them out to the door to make way for a more adult atmosphere.
It’s fairly standard fayre but well done. Smaller plates are £5 – grilled hake, chicken, chicken goujons, penne with tomato sauce, mini sausages and fish goujons, and include a vegetable side.
Smaller people with bigger appetites will find larger plates for £8 (minute steak, sea bass fillet or a burger), again including a side.
Dining with a child is best dealt with quickly so I was pleased to find a number of options that fitted just that bill.
My husband’s starter of Scotch egg, with coronation mayo (£5.50) arrived with the children’s meal so we were eating before we knew it.
No starter for me but really nice to see some unusual dishes – nectarine, Cashel Blue and pistachio salad, pea and shallot ravioli, and broccoli guacamole all appealed.
I quizzed the waitress about the Moving Mountain plant based B12 burger and almost swung that way, after assurances that even the most hardened carnivore would be unable to resist but I’m afraid, I wanted to leave bread to one side and keep it healthy.
Keen to stick to protein and veggies, I plumped for grilled sirloin mini steak, kimchi salad and peanut dressing (£16). I certainly enjoyed it but think I prefer fillet over sirloin so found it a little on the gristly side.
I loved the lightness of touch the salad was treated with and subtle dressing.
My husband’s roast pork belly, borlotti bean and barley summer stew, salsa verde (£16.50) was very well received.
Eating stew in summer does not seem like the most obviously choice but the addition of beans and pulses, in place of stodgier vegetables, made it perfectly possible.
The Bolingbroke is a great example of what a pub menu can achieve, with a little bit of thought.
The classics have been included – fish and chips is ever present – while still pursuing current food trends.
The vegan burger is on example but there are so many more, including burrata bowl, and guinea fowl and apricot ballontine, pan haggerty, tendersteam, almond. I agree, the last dish sounds a bit fancy but exciting as well. Don’t you think so?
Besides, it’s August, which means it’s game season.
The six-strong dessert menu was missing a couple of its entries – a tad disappointing but didn’t deter my husband from getting hold of a cute, individual banoffee pie and my little girl enjoying a scoop of ice-cream.
Tummies full, everyone left happy.
Paloma was a guest of the Bolingbroke. 174 Northcote Road, Battersea, SW11 6RE.