Sunday lunch at The Devonshire, Balham


To the pub we go!

Today's review is of a newly refurbished Young's pub in Balham - The Devonshire. One of the oldest of the Young's estate, The Devonshire has gone by many names and seen many faces. Today, it is a place to travel through time, from the old-world pub at the front with its etched mirrors to the Art Dec-style dining room in the middle, and the contemporary garden room at the back. Sunday lunch or a quick after-work pint, The Devonshire caters to it all.
As the sun was shining we shimmied through the glorious pub to it's large garden. Here, huge umbrellas save the skin from burning while the background of Heathrow-bound flights provides a quite relaxing soundtrack (trust me).

As per all Young's pubs, the menu takes a naturally 'best of British' approach, embracing cooking techniques from across the world and adding the vest best seasonal ingredients. I kicked off with a small starter of smoked salmon with purple sprouting broccoli, pea shoots, green beans and coriander with honey and sesame dressing. While refreshing, I felt that the salmon could have benefited from being in flakes, rather than slivers just to give the dish a bit of body. The dressing could have also done with a stronger flavour of honey, just like my main at MOMMI last week.
Alex went for another brunch-esque plate of in-season grilled asparagus with fiery British chorizo, crispy egg and lemon oil. This earthy plate balance the heat of the chorizo with the richness of egg really well and the lemon oil cut through well. Again, the chorizo could have perhaps been in chunks so that it could play a bigger part but there you go. 
For mains, I chose the truly vibrant green risotto with wild nettle, spinach, broad beans, goats' cheese and gremolata. I would have served perhaps a third less on the plate but the flavour was absolutely divine. Fresh from the greens, rich from the cheese and really soft in texture - an absolute yum! Naughtily, I also dipped my sweet potato fries into the risotto which was a surprising treat. 
Alex went for the goats' cheese marinated chicken supreme with mixed beans, mustard seed, rocket, pomegranate, toasted coconut salad and dill cream. This was a really lovely dish with big, rich, punchy flavours. The presentation was sublime and made each mouthful even more exciting. Bravo! 
Come pudding, the lovely team at The Devonshire let us order from the Sunday menu (we visited on Bank Holiday Monday). I chose the apple and rhubarb crumble which simply sang of childhood. The sweet, sumptuous custard only helped to bring back happy memories of Sunday's at home. Alex's beautiful Bakewell tart was also reminiscent but this time of his recent trip to actual Bakewell itself. The fresh fruit additions helped to bring a lightness to the density of the dish. 
While Balham is a bit of a trek for me (an hour on the Northern Line, more like!) I really enjoyed our visit. I found the service and the food to be exactly what you want from a great British pub; approachable, effortless and comforting. If you're within easy reach then definitely go check it out, otherwise there's definitely a Young's pub near you to give you a taste!

Thank you to The Devonshire for hosting this review. All opinions are my own, as usual

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