Sometimes you just want a good hearty meal without the fuss, especially on a cold and wintry evening. As soon as I saw the menu online for the Sir John Balcombe Pub in Marylebone, I knew exactly what I was going to get when I went along to sample their food offerings.
This establishment just a stone’s throw from Marylebone station, attracts a mix of those who work and live in the area and is incredibly popular. It was heaving and buzzing with diners and drinkers alike by 6 pm on a Friday evening. The place appeals to both those wanting a quick bite to eat with a pint or two, or individuals seeking a relaxing sit-down meal with a group of friends.
Having recently undergone substantial refurbishment, the much-loved Sir John Balcombe has been revamped to open up the space in the pub upstairs while creating a cosy downstairs bar. The décor is relaxed and cosy, which is inviting in the heart of busy London. With a quirky exposed brick finish, the pub has character and flair, the perfect escape for the good folk of Marylebone and beyond to enjoy lunches, dinners, meetings, parties or weekend boozy brunches.
Most of the crowds gather around the bar area (totally expected for Friday post-work drinks), but diners can still eat their meals in peace with tables situated on the outskirts of the pub. To be honest, it was rather amusing doing a spot of people watching as we sat down to make our food choices.
If you’re after bar snacks, there are ample choices from sticky chicken wings and mac and cheese bites, to crispy whitebait and deep-fried breaded haggis. Served in a half-pint glass, it’s great finger food to share. With this in mind, I opted for the Thai spiced chickpea fritters with chip shop curry sauce. They were so moreish, and I could have had a whole plate full of them.
Burger lovers would love this place as there is plenty of choice. They are served in bread buns accompanied with skin in fries, pickled slaw and smoked chilli ketchup dip. But it was the half beer-brined chicken with sweet potato fries that called my name. Apart from a very small helping of salad and pickled slaw, the portion was ample. And although the slaw was lovely, it didn’t taste very tangy.
The pub’s drinks list is stocked with refreshing beers such as Moretti, Lagunitas IPA, Meantimes’ Helles Lager and Anytime IPA. Beer lovers can also choose from Doom Bar and Truman’s Swift, with rotations of special craft lagers and ales. Coupled with a list of wines from across the globe and a range of spirits, including Kraken Perfect Storm and Sipsmith Hot Gin and Tonic, you’ll be stuck for choice as I was. And although there is no sommelier here, bar staff know a thing or two about the drinks.
And the beer and other drinks flow during the day and into the weekend alongside Sir John Balcombe’s separate lunch and brunch menu. It’s easy to see why this place is popular. The food is good, the atmosphere lively and the service extremely friendly. A cosy place you can hang out after work or with a group of friends at the weekend in the heart of London.
Sir John Balcombe – Where and How?
The Sir John Balcombe pub is located at 21 Balcombe Street, Marylebone, London NW1 6HE, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.sirjohnbalcombemarylebone.co.uk or call 0207 258 0239.