Bars and pubs, Pubs Balham
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Guy Dimond

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.



Venue name: Grove
Address: 39 Oldridge Road
SW12 8PN
Opening hours: Open noon-midnight Mon-Sat; noon-11pm Sun.
Transport: Tube: Clapham South tube or Balham tube/rail
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
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I’m a North London girl at heart. It’s where I live, I love and I eat…not necessarily in order of importance there FYI. When I moved to my Angel-ic neighbourhood, I was told I’d find it hard to venture out and it's true that the kaleidoscope of restaurants, coffee-shops and bars there have derailed my attempts to leave on many occasions. That said, over recent months and thanks to good friends who live there, the call of the Northern Line and specifically one of its more southerly stops, Balham, has seen me dip a tentative and exploratory toe into the land south of the river and y’know what? It’s pretty good. I’m still alive, I’m still happy and more importantly, thanks to places like the Grove, I’m still well fed. Amen.

Sat between Balham & Clapham South tubes, just off Balham High Road, this is without doubt one of the prettiest looking pubs I’ve been in recently. Twirling together the eclectic style of the Victorian era with a lovely mis-matched jumble of chairs, tables and décor, the large dining area is sat underneath a conservatory roof which floods the room with daylight while the bar area boasts giant copper tanks & some of the neighbourhood’s best behaved dogs – extra brownie points automatically awarded in my book – and leather booths are charmingly adorned with curtains should you feel the need to retreat into cosy seclusion.

Staff are very friendly & helpful although there was an eyebrow lift that bordered on scathing when a cocktail menu was asked after…yes, I can see you have a rather fine selection of Japanese whiskies on show but it’s Friday night and I like a drink with a little fruity sass, so sue me. Eight of us were quickly seated though with great patience shown & assistance given as we tried pretty much every seat in the house in a bid to work out where was best for a crutch toting member of our party.

The menu is decent with a nice mix of pub stalwarts and more modern dishes. Starters were a bit hit & miss with croquettes a touch dry and avocado dip a little under-seasoned but the mains were excellent with a peanut butter & beer soaked onions topped burger eliciting murmurs of appreciation all round. Juicy and full of charred flavour, it was an excellent addition to my ‘how-many-burgers-can-I-love-in-London’ list and a confirmation that yes, peanut butter does belong on a burger, especially if it’s crunchy. No, I'm afraid you may not disagree.

Desserts were good with a gummy slab of sticky toffee pudding leading the charge while a truffley-soft, crispy-edged brownie is worth a surreptitious stealing of the plate from your fellow pudding sharers, although its peanut butter panna cotta was a bit too heavy and a touch too ambitious in its delivery.

Was it perfect? Not quite but the slight failings in food were down to over-ambition which for me, trumps laziness in menus every-time and thanks to the brilliant service, I’d say as locals go, there were definitely moments when I’d quite like to have transported this little southern gem north of the river and into a new Angel-ic setting. 


great place to watch the rugby if you book an area in advance.  We were a large group and we ended up in an area with sofas and a screen to ourselves.  Drinks are reasonably priced, food was ok.  Unfortunately there were a few items missing that we were not informed about when ordering but not the end of the world, just would be something they could improve on for the future. Reasonable place.

Great local pub in Balham. Fantastic atmosphere, fantastic food and a cracking pub quiz on a Sunday evening!

A nice place for pub grub especially if the sun is shining and you can grab a seat outside. Does all it needs to do for food and drink. Food is good quality pub food and the staff are friendly and attentive. Tried the film night one evening and unfortunately the film seemed to be different to the one advertised but this may have been my error. Worth a visit and one of the better pubs in the area

Dear Time Out, Thank you for your review of our pub. We appreciate you taking the time to visit us. I wanted to let you know that we've recently taken a new Head Chef on board who starts this week. We'd love to invite you in for a meal on us at the end of February / March perhaps to try and improve our Time Out rating and hope you will give us that chance. Kindest Regards Becky Russell The Grove Balham