Don’t you just love a cosy 16th-century village pub that specialises in gourmet food? Saracens Head in Balsall Common does just that. As well as a great normal menu they specialise in wood-fired pizza and steaks.
Ambience & Service
The pub has a warm pleasant atmosphere. With soft lighting, cosy fireplaces, outdoor seating and comfy chairs, there is something for everyone.
Whether you just want to pop in for that cheeky cocktail, catch up with friends over beer and pizza or splash out on wine and steak, the carefully crafted pub can cater for you.
I was invited to try out their new menu. On the evening Jo looked after us. The service was warm and welcoming from the start. The team clearly had a passion and worked well. It was home from home.
Food is served from midday until 10 pm (apart from Sunday when it’s 930pm).
Skimming through the menu at first I was pleased to see options for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. Whilst these don’t apply to me it is nice to see a variety and something for everyone without there being too much.
We started the meal with some halloumi fries. Crispy and perfectly fried, these were delicious especially with the Gotcha Mayo and spring onions. We did have to fight for the last piece.
Oyster mushroom & thyme bruschetta, kale & garlic dressing: Anything with mushroom draws my eye and this was no different. A nice slice of bruschetta topped with a mountain of dressed oyster mushrooms with a drizzle of kale and garlic dressing, this starter was amazing.
Crispy smoked pork belly, grilled scallop, pea purée: Kev is a pork belly fan and he picked this as soon as he saw it. The scallop was cooked to perfection and the pork belly bites were soft and had a nice golden coating. Combined with the pea puree, the textures on the plate went well together and ingredients tasty.
BBQ short rib, apple & celeriac slaw, triple cooked chips: Jo recommended this to Kev and it was just as he described it. The meat fell off the bone and was soft. The rib was cooked perfectly and went really well with the fresh tasting apple & celeriac slaw. The dish came with fries and Kev swapped them for some amazing sweet potato ones.
Lemon & thyme roasted chicken breast marinated Mozzarella, roasted mixed carrots, sautéed new potatoes, crispy prosciutto: I would never normally have chicken breast (because of the fear or dry meat) but this was another recommendation from Jo so I went with it. Soft, succulent chicken topped with melting mozzarella, a beautiful gravy & delicious potatoes, this was so comforting and full of flavour. The carrots were cooked well too and the crispy prosciutto just made the dish enjoyable.
Apple crumble tart, clotted cream, vanilla custard: I am all for hot desserts and picked this crumble tart. Every spoonful melted away and even though I was so full I had to finish the dessert. It was not stodgy and the apples made it lighter. The custard had the perfect vanilla balance too.
Hot dark chocolate & pecan fondant, caramel sauce, vanilla pod ice cream: Between Kev & I there is always a chocolate dessert and he chose this one. A warm chocolate cake filled with nice gooey chocolate always goes down well, especially when paired with caramel sauce and a good vanilla ice cream. The hints of pecan added to the texture and there was no crumb insight at the end of the meal.
The pub had a good wine list, great beer and plenty of tempting crafted drinks like cocktails and mocktails.
I tried the non-alcoholic gin & tonic made with Seedlip Garden and Fever-Tree tonic water. Served in an apt glass this went well with my meal.