Location:The Sportsman is in West Bromwich, it’s simple enough to find, if you head towards the High St from the M5, you are parking up within two minutes.
For travelling football fans The Hawthorns is a 10 minute walk, Walsall FC is a 10 minute drive, Villa Park and St Andrews are all approx 25 minutes away in various directions.
Appearance & Entry:
From outside, the Sportsman now looks a lot more friendly and really does stand out, the recent renovation really has transformed the outside of the building. However, people continue to smoke outside the front is never a good look,yet they still do, especially when a designated area is provided at the back.
Upon entry you have two rooms, turning right takes you into the bar leading into the dining area, the atmosphere is always buzzing, no matter what football/cricket fans are in its always on point.
Drinks are the average price for the area and they have a great selection of draught beer and short’s, the Whiskey selection has grown in the last few months, getting bigger and better.
Having ordered our drinks we venture to the food room, the new booths work better than the previous tables, the tables are clean and we spot a designated person who is entrusted to do this, and he is on the ball unlike in our previous review.
There is no Sizzler option, similar to the Vine, if you inform the chef you want a sizzler he will give you the food that you require, just not on a sizzling bed of onions.
The Sportsman is a venue that is legendary amongst Albion fans and Punjabi residents up and down the country, the reason being the atmosphere and also because its been around for such a long time.
We order our food and we are informed the food will be ready in 10mins and we will be called over.
Mixed Grill: We have no sizzling onions so we have no mixed grill.
Chicken Tikka: The Chicken Tikka chunks are large, and I mean large, the Sportsman is one of the few places that still actually fully barbecues it’s food, so the meat is slightly dry, yet tasty and full of spice.
Lamb Shish Kebab: This like the tikka is barbecued, again the size of it is impressive.It’s spicy and is full of flavours not as dry as the tikka, very tasty.
Wings: These are spicy, but the flavours are buried by the spice unfortunately.
Pork Steak: These were brilliant, large, tasty and just the right amount of spice. Best part of the grilled items.
Now to check out the Curries.
Chicken Tikka Masala: The plate is delivered slightly after the grilled items as we asked for that and the request was accommodated, the dish is spicy, the quantity of meat inside the dish is good nothing really stands out about the dish nor disappoints.
Lamb Curry: The lamb dish is spicy, tasty and plentiful, the spice is fine for lovers of spice but if you are not a fan of things this spicy inform the kitchen staff on arrival.
The Sportsman has been around for ages, and has a reputation for being a great place to meet with friends and in large groups, that is still the case, and for atmosphere it still is one of the best around.
The food, though ok for me, may be spicy for some and due to the way in which it is prepared it may feel dry for some. The new renovation has really made the Sportsman more appealing and it was needed, the lack of a sizzler option is maybe something they could look at as I do feel its needed.
Prices are realistic for food and drink, waiting times are minimal, even when it is very busy. The staff do not over indulge you in conversation which is good, food portions are large, so sharing is good, the curries were not stand out, just very much as expected.
Round 2, The consistency of the food in at the Sportsman is never in doubt, the banter from the chefs is never in doubt neither. How do we re-score The Sportsman? well for one thing, I went with females, to see how they would feel in a pub that has a lads reputation.
At no point did they feel intimated by the joyful atmosphere and enjoyed the experience, the food was exactly the same as every visit, so that we will not change, but the refurbishment has definitely added a new clientele to the Sportsman.
Food the same quality as ever, atmosphere more family orientated of late.