FOOD REVIEW: enjoy lunch at Westside pub made famous by Bill Clinton

Incredibly, next week will mark 26 years since that sunny Friday when the then US president Bill Clinton appeared on the balcony at The Malt House.

Bill’s balcony at The Malt House pub.

Old Bill was pictured by the media the world over on 15 May 1998 as he gave his pint a thumbs up during his visit for the G8 summit that was being hosted by Birmingham.

That was nine years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and three years before 9/11 – a period that now seems like the best of times. Even Russia’s then president Boris Yeltsin was welcomed to town by our former prime minister Tony Blair.

It’s great that the very friendly staff at The Malt House still love to acknowledge the value of Clinton’s visit – along with the legendary debate over whether the Secret Service really did smash his glass to prevent his fingerprints being stolen!

Comfy seating at The Malt House.

Lunch for £10 – with soft drink. During our visit on a quiet Wednesday afternoon after 2pm, we tried the ‘Lunch & A Drink’ menu that’s valid from noon to 3pm on weekdays. Your can watch a slideshow video of our visit here:

The cost is £10 for a choice of six meals plus one of five soft drinks, including a sodastream diet coke which my wife and I both opted for. An alternative draft beer, cider or 175ml glass of house wine would have been £2 extra.

The food choices included a cod goujon sandwich, chicken BLT, halloumi and chilli jam flatbread wrap (V) and a fresh garden salad (VE).

I had a small salad next to a 14-day aged, flat iron steak sandwich, while my wife tried the three-cheese ‘grilled cheese toastie’ served with béchamel sauce in a toasted farmhouse loaf, with another mini salad.

Ever wondered what a doorstep sandwich looks like?
There’s nothing wrong with a good old toasted cheese sarnie!

My steak came on two doorstep-sized sandwiches that looked like, er, doorsteps. But if the presentation was unadventurous – no toasted sides with chopped herbs, for example – then the meat, enlivened with just the right amount of mustard, was both properly tasty and tender. I never eat white bread at home, but the ‘farmhouse’ slices were equally good as part of a meal said to have 681 kcal.

‘Tasty and tender’ steak.

Our total bill came to £23 given that our shared, small pot of fries was £3 extra. If only we’d read about the free beer offer online before we’d gone along, the free Peroni would have subsidised the spuds very nicely!

Free beer offer. Claim a free bottle of Peroni Nastro Azzurro Capri, a pint of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, a bottle of Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% or a bottle of Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten Free by signing up to Greene King’s customer email database before 5pm on 31 May 2024. You’ll be sent a voucher for one drink, redeemable until 9 June.

Where is it? The Malt House is at 75 King Edwards Rd, Birmingham B1 2NX and faces both the National Sealife Centre and the Utilita Arena across different sides of the canal network, next to the Old Turn Junction. The family-friendly pub is open daily from 11am to 11pm and serves food every day from noon to 8pm.

This bridge leading to The Malt House is 197 years old.

The bridge between The Malt House and the Utilita Arena, by the way, was built by Horseley Iron Works, Staffordshire, in 1827 – making it 197 years old. Take your picture on it!

Pictures and video by Graham Young


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