Tag Archives: desi

Revisit: The Boatman’s Rest

Previous Revisit Here

Original Post Here

The landlord from the first revisit is still there, but there’s a subtle change: the pub seems to be going Desi.

The kitchen is refurbed, the lager is Cobra, and there’s a fairly typical indian barbecue menu on, which, to be fair, is excellent. The terrible stereo is still present in the bar, and there’s no ale, but the Cobra was fine and the food great, though it remains to be seen if Walsall Wood High St can sustain 3 establishments serving Indian food, even with me living nearby.

The Island Inn

West Bromwich:

Whatpub Link

Another Desi pub. Modern building, right on a busy junction of major roads in West Brom. No cask ale, but decent lager. Friendly staff. Impressive-looking menu (but a bit pricier than others). There’s 2 rooms; a big, open bar with multiple TVs showing sport (but the volume was down when we visited), and a separate restaurant room. Again, a laid back, early-doors atmosphere, with people dropping on after work.

The Ivy Bush

Smethwick:

Whatpub Link

Corner pub that extends along Malin St some way; it’s a long, thin building. Nice, old fashioned-layout- bar at the front, multiple lounges stretching back, and toilets that were obviously once outside, but now roofed over.

Another visit on our Desi pub tour, but no food evident when we visited (about 4pm), but very much the proper pub atmosphere- tradesmen dropping in for a pint after work. Friendly landlord. No cask ale, but handpumps on the bar, and at least decent lager.

The Red Cow

Smethwick:

Pub Website
Whatpub Link

Continuing our Desi pub tour, this was one of the more outlying ones, so a day off seemed like a good way to tackle it.

Outside, like some of the other Desi pubs, it’s a huge, inter-war pub, and it’s right on Smethwick High St, with bus stops nearby. Easily spotted by the huge Red Cow statue outside!

Inside is similarly large, and multi roomed- it’s opened out a little, but not completely. Decor is quite basic, but clean. There’s a couple of pool tables, and plenty of seating. Generally, it’s the standard recipe of TVs for sport, really good Indian food (bargain priced), and keg beer (including Cobra, but it was out, so I got Stella). Pleasant staff and customers.

The Red Lion

West Bromwich:

A short way out of town, but the right way out of town, on our bus route.

A big, red-brick, inter-war, “improved” or road-house type pub that’s been modernised inside, and given the desi treatment. Bar at the front, big, slightly canteen-like room at the back. Friendly staff, good beer choice (decent lager and cask ale), and a really impressive food menu (we were still full from The Sportsman).

Very busy- a popular pub, and despite feeling a bit canteen like, not unpleasant, until the volume on the TVs got cranked up loud.

The Prince of Wales

West Bromwich:

So, we’d passed this already.

When we dropped in on the way back, it was disappointing we hadn’t gone here first, though I wasn’t sure if they were doing food at lunchtime.

Anyway, inside was a basic, honest boozer. Bench seats, no cask ale, but decent lager and wine, and lovely staff. There’s an eating area out back, and to the other side, a pool table. The pub stretches back a loooong way.

We didn’t eat, having filled up at The Sportsman, but the food has a good reputation. Customers wandered in and out, as multicultural as the area.

The Sportsman

West Bromwich:

So, I’d bought the Creative Black Country Desi pub book. I love Indian food, and we needed somewhere to go, so time to start. I’d not checked details before, so went past the Red Lion on the bus, and walked past the Prince of Wales en route…

Anyway, from outside, unexceptional. Inside? Clean, bright, practical if not that atmospheric, but well set up for the audience: a big open bar area at the front, and a big area with booths for food at the back, TVs in both, but not too loud. Mixed Asian and white customers, counter for food order at one end of the back area.

The food was excellent and good value, and while there was no cask ale, there were at least 3 decent lagers. really friendly staff, and a nice, friendly feel to the place.

The Old Engine

Darlaston (even if Google thinks Wednesbury):

This was near to our bus, and a friend had suggested we popped in. It’s uninspiring, to be honest, from the outside, looking mostly like a couple of houses knocked through and turned into a pub, but inside is pleasant- not pluch, but clean and tidy. No cask ale, but decent lager served by a friendly Asian barman, and…

The proper Desi pub food experience from an open kitchen at the back. I’d fancied a curry anyway, so to find one almost by accident was a bonus, and the food was great and bargain priced.

Friendly, multicultural locals- the majority white, as it happened, but a significant amount of Asian customers (including the barman when his shift ended). A sign saying “You are respectfully requested not to discuss religion or politics on the premises” didn’t seem to halt conversation. Football was on the TVs, but no-one was shouting and the sound was low enough to hear over.