This vast Young’s pub occupies a prime corner site on one of the smarter bits of gentrified Balham, just out of sight from Balham High Road. A refurb over the autumn on 2012 turned it into a looker of a local, complete with atrium roof, drapes and plenty of nooks and crannies; a repaint of the exterior in spring 2014 also gave it a fillip.
To drink there are Young’s fine brews, plus a pick of Meantime’s brews. In March 2012 a new feature was added - 'tanks' of fresh Meantime lager, which ensure a prime quality pint of their premium lager at £4.45 a pint.
Unfortunately, the menu was not given as much of an overhaul as the interior design in 2012; the dish selection seemed to have been picked by a central committee, and covered standard pub fare (fish and chips, burger, banoffee pie) as well as more trend-conscious dishes such as pork belly ribs.
A three-bean vegetable chilli was not an inspired dish, reminding us of student canteen cooking; and the ‘fish of the day’ we ordered was replaced by the dover sole from the everyday menu, the substitution and our query of the silent swap handled gracelessly.
A new chef in 2014 changed a few elements of the menu, but essentially, it's still just a Young's pub menu.
A good place for a drink then, but with plenty of other options for eating out in Balham, The Grove is a dining opportunity missed.