I’ve been going to the Roundhouse for as long as I’ve been living in Wandsworth, and that’s quite a long time now. Perched across the road from the northern most bit of Wandsworth common, and overlooking Emanuel school, it’s distinctive semi circular shape means it’s probably one of the most easily recognized pubs in the area.
When I first stepped over its threshold all those years ago it was in a pretty parlous state as were so many pubs in the mid 90’s. Looking like the last serious attempt at redecoration had been carried out by the Luftwaffe, bald spots had appeared on the walls where a halfhearted attempt to cover them up had been made with various flags of the rugby playing nations of the world. Despite the hardworking cheerfulness of the antipodean management, you just knew that this was a pub with not long left in this world.
After being the Roundhouse the building took turns trying to be a restaurant (a Cafe Med & Whitebait respectively,) before deciding to be a pub again as the Freemason’s Arms. About 7 years again sense prevailed and the Roundhouse was reborn, which I think was a relief to everyone.
Anyway it was on a cold and gusty windy January night that me and the Ultimate Rugby Fan (URF, my regular partner the Delightful Dining Companion being away for a week,) decided to pay a visit. Why on a Monday I hear you ask? Well two good reasons, firstly it’s pub quiz night and secondly they now have a dining deal Monday to Thursday.
The pub’s interior is now a far cry from how it was all those years ago. Plainly painted with minimal decoration, there’s not a hint of a rugby flag anywhere to be seen. Since reopening the menu has evolved significantly and like the decoration now seems reflective of the ethos that less is more. There’s about 5 to 6 starters to choose from and roughly the same number of mains.
Skipping starters we decided to stick with mains and go for the deal, where there is something to appeal to most tastes. A couple of fish dishes, some meat, two steaks and, of course, the token a veggie option. All main courses come in around £12-£14, apart from the steaks which are £18 for a sirloin and £19 for a ribeye respectively. This is where the genius of the Monday to Thursday dining offer comes into play: you can now order two main meals with wine for a starting price of £40 depending on your choice of wine. Myself and the URF chose a mid-priced red and two steaks coming in at £49, this in effect reduced the cost of the wine to £13.
The service was friendly and efficient and the food when it came was well presented and tasty. The wine selection on the deal was good, though it has to be said that I haven’t tried the cheapest option available, which would be the ultimate litmus test. This time we both opted to have a pudding having tried the cheeseboard previously, which it has to be said was disappointing for its £12 price tag, the quantity rather than the quality being the issue here. I opted for the tarte tatin, whilst the URF went for her favourite liqueur, Bailey’s, in ice cream form. Both were worth having.
Following the food, we stuck around for the pub quiz. This is hosted by Question One, the well known quiz organisers and despite out best efforts we could only secure 2nd place. Well there were only the two of us up against teams over twice our size, so it was a moral victory as well as nearly an actual one.
The bill when it arrived came to about £77, but that did include a number of drinks to keep us going through the quiz as well as main course, pudding and a bottle of wine. The food, whilst nice, is only superior pub grub and although good value with the mid-week deal, I’d would hesitate to pay the full price at other times.
That being said, it was one of the nicest ways to spend what would have otherwise been a dull Monday night in early January.
Sunday to Thursday 12pm to 11pm
Friday & Saturday 12pm to 12am
2 North Side