The Grove is in Handsworth Wood (Birmingham) , it is not the easiest to find if you are new to navigating around the Handsworth area. The simplest way to get to Grove Lane is from Soho Rd, and follow it to the top. Handsworth Park is not too far away if looking for points of interests.
For travelling football fans Villa Park/ The Hawthorns, and St Andrews are all approx 25 minutes away in various directions.
Appearance & Entry:
The Grove does have a car park, which is good, as parking in and around the streets is tight at best. The Grove is decent from the outside and fairly large, a throwback to real boozers from the outside. One thing that is not pleasing as we approach is the amount of young lads hanging in the doorway, which puts me and my female partner on tender hooks, we have to force our way through as the lads had no intention of moving for us.
The Grove has 3 rooms, which include a Bar and a dining area, we proceed to the bar and order our drinks, the drinks in comparison with other desi pubs are not cheap, so bare that in mind. The selection of drinks is varied and everything we could want seems to be on display, we order our drinks and go to order food.
Travelling up and down the country and stopping at various sandwich shacks the portacabins attached to those places are better maintained than what the dining area looks like. Clean seats and tables are the basic of basic requirements, this is lacking.
We order our food and we ask for a table to be wiped clean before sitting down, this has not gone down well with the young man who is in charge of cleaning.
The Grove was a place that was highly recommended by all, the buzz around The Grove was fantastic, but it really has died down of late, but has the food changed ? Let’s see.
We order our food, and take a seat, we can see some of the food being prepared and that is always a good sign, the large mix grill is £15.50, so not a bad price at all. The Grove is not very busy and we are informed that our food will be with us soon. After 20 minutes we receive our food, which is a positive.
Mixed Grill: This is huge, I mean this is piled up; this is the largest mixed grill we have seen to date on our travels. The onions are still dry and nothing special, but the food is hot, and the sizzle is in full swing.
Chicken Tikka: KFC would be proud at the amount of chicken that is on this grill, the chicken tikka is plentiful, but in reality it has swarmed this sizzler, some are dry and others are cooked better, they are spicy but that really is the end of the flavour, spice but little flavour.
Lamb Shish Kebab: This is unlike the tikka it is full of flavour and cooked very well, the spice is right and the quantity is of the right amount.
Wings: Again these are rooted for, once found they are flavoursome, more so than the tikka, these are good but quantity wise, not as many on offer as the tikka.
Lamb Chop: These I had to dig for, but they were worth the dig, they are large and tasty and contain very little fat, great chops.
Now to check out the Curries:
Chicken Tikka Masala: This is piping hot on arrival however this only lasted momentarily, the heat appears to be artificial. It is not creamy and it just seems like it’s been re-heated, the curry is bland, and I am wary as I know this has just been re-heated.
Lamb Curry: The lamb is nice, it is tasty and plentiful, but it does seem as if it has just been re-heated, as the heat soon disappears.
All the food was hot when delivered but the curries did not remain so.
The food like the Grove was very hit and miss, first and foremost the car park is great, but then having people crowd the doorway is a huge turnoff, my female companion did not enjoy that one bit.
Attention to detail is lacking, picking up dishes and keeping chairs and tables clean is a must especially when quite, rather than chatting to friends..
The mixed grill was huge and very tasty bar the Chicken tikka which was ok, but I think maybe looking at replacing quantity with quality, the sizzler was good apart from that. The curries were re-heated and that did not sit well, they were piping hot but quickly turned cold, the Lamb dish though very tasty when hot suffered from going cold.
Prices are realistic for food, waiting times are minimal, and bar staff were friendly (more so than the kitchen staff), portions are large, so sharing is good, the sizzler works, the curry dishes going cold was not so good.
For the above reasons we score The Grove a 6.8/10
Round 2, We went back to the Grove, to see how it compared to our first visit. Pleased to inform you that the kitchen staff were attentive and a lot more on the ball.
The lamb curry was the stand out on this occasion, it stayed warm to, which added to the taste from our first visit, the Chicken Tikka was better and the portion was still huge lol.
A good second visit, still more of a lad’s and locals vibe, but a good atmosphere.
The score has been submitted for the 2nd visit and when averaged out with the first score
The Grove (Handsworth) new score 7.4/10
Check out the league table in full here: Desi Pubs League Table