It was the Monday that the Beast from the East had sidled its way into the British Isles and Nappy Valley was shivering under icy ... Read Feature
Brrrrr, get out the overcoat, put on that bobble hat and wrap that scarf around your neck till it’s so tight your eyes slightly pop out of your head. Yes winter is no longer just coming, it’s arrived, put its bags down and the kettle on.
So what does the start of winter mean? Well for some it means mulled wine, office parties and the chance to plan one of those winter sun getaways you’ve been dreaming of. For others though it means long Christmas school holidays and having to keep the kids entertained.
As well as keeping kids entertained, you also have to keep them fed, and one place I’d like to suggest would be the recently opened Pizza Storm, South Side, Wandsworth. As we know, most of the cinema fare that’s released around the yuletide season is by its nature kid friendly, and it has to be said that the area around South Side and the cinema is already pretty stuffed to the gills with food choices that are unlikely to cause children to feign a barfing incident.
Pizza Storm though offers more than just child friendly food, it offers a child friendly dining experience. Basically it’s DIY pizza, for a set price you or junior choose the toppings they want and voila it’s placed in the 900 degree over and what’s described 180 seconds later (or 3 minutes in old money) you have your pizza.
Despite being decades away from being able to get a half fare on the buses, I loved being able to experiment with the most gruesome combinations possible. The adult part of me enjoyed the fact that the wine was just £9.95 a bottle, meaning that this was something both children and adults could enjoy.
The pizza was good, nice and crispy the way I like it. The toppings well, obviously that’s up to you, mine was perhaps rather overloaded. Service was friendly and the bill far from heart stopping, though it could of course add up if every child wanted a pizza of their own.
The downsides were for me, an overly utilitarian décor, probably for cost reasons, but more importantly on the night I visited only one loo was operational. Anyone who is shepherding a group of children will know that one loo is never enough. That being said it’s cheap, entertaining and allows the child to get involved, Pizza Storm has my vote.
The other place I’d like to recommend as part of today’s mini reviews is Lambert’s, which has been flying the flag for fine dining on Balham High Road for a couple of years now. I joined some friends for lunch there one Sunday recently and thought I should jot down a few paragraphs of praise that I’m sharing with you now.
Sunday roasts are tricky beasts to enjoy out. Many pubs do them, and many do them badly. Rather than naming and shaming the purveyors of cold plates, thin gravy and Yorkshire puds with the consistency either of glue or rocks, it’s easier to say which have got it right. One of 6the best I’ve had recently was at the Earlsfield pub, imaginatively situated next to Earlsfield station. It was a bit pricey but had the bets gravy and Yorkshire I’d had out for a while (for reference the Ultimate Rugby Fan pretty much wins the national trophy for both in my opinion.)
This was more impressive as we didn’t eat until about 7, having popped along to see the love band, and at that time let’s be honest most pub roasts have seen better days. Top tip, the live band is pretty amazing as well.
So that’s great for your adult’s only Sunday roast, but I thought this was meant to be kid friendly. Well that’s where Lambert’s comes in. Here on Sunday they serve a selection of roasts which changes frequently. These are priced at the top end of the pub spectrum from about £14 – £18, but are like the general fare they serve during the week, a bit of a cut above.
On my recent visit I enjoyed roast saddle of lamb, which was tasty, served on a warm plate and had vegetables that still tasted of vegetable. The only criticism from me was perhaps the Yorkshire was on the crispy side of acceptable, and I wondered whether I’d got the last of a bunch that had been cooked up earlier.
Lambert’s is clean bright and child friendly on a Sunday. The wine is like the food a cut above, and unfortunately priced accordingly, but hey it’s a Sunday, you’ve got to work tomorrow and you’re looking after children. So if you’re after somewhere for a roast that’s a bit different and a bit special it gets my thumbs up.