When people think of bowling alleys, the most likely image to come to mind would be the rumble and clatter of ball and skittles, a few naff video games and a questionable hotdog to snack on. Enter All Star Lanes, a high-end bowling experience with a menu of premium eats like UK wagyu steak, homemade desserts and all enjoyed with a range of luxury cocktails; a long way from soggy chips and greasy cheeseburgers. Keen to learn more Kasha and I, joined by her sister and mum, were invited to experience their complete offering.
Located not far from my work in Farringdon, the Holborn based bowling alley is in a prime position to accomodate work parties from the agency stuffed Clerkenwell and city workers from Covent Garden. Follow the steps down to emerge in a subterranean bowling mecca which will make you nostalgic for the carefree ‘50s bowling scene in America, even if you weren’t alive to ever see it. Retro bowling shirts, neon signs and bowling paraphernalia are dotted about throughout, with the walls adorned by a series of pin up girls. The area is surprisingly large, with an entrance hall / trophy room, four lanes next the restaurant, a large bar at the rear, and a private area of two lanes perfect for a birthday party or work do.
The Food & Drinks
Few restaurants out there can boast a soundtrack to your meal quite as unique as a cacophony of smashed pins. The atmosphere of the place is alive with showboating, commiserations and high fives. The restaurant itself, with its leather fitted booths, gives you a prime position to soak up the excitement before or after your game.
One glance of the menu and you’ll forget you’re eating in a bowling alley, the array of aged steaks, towering burgers and comfort classics feel much more like you’ve stumbled upon some hip new London pop up. Keen for some classic Americana fare, Kasha and I opted for the monthly special, the Meatball Hoagie (£10.50), sided with some crunchy Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50) and an indulgent pot of Mac N’ Cheese (£4.50). Our hoagies were phenomenal, meaty homemade meatballs smothered in a rich mariana sauce and wrapped in a lightly toasted brioche bun.
Looking to sample the premium end of the menu, Anna and Bozgena ordered the Wagyu Sirloin Steak (£18) and the Wagyu Burger (£16.50), the latter a succulent 6oz UK wagyu beef patty topped by wild mushrooms, poached panko duck egg and sliced black truffle.
For drinks, the extensive cocktail menu will see you right, just be sure to keep in mind you have a game to play after! Ignoring my own advice I opted for the boozy rum soaked Zombie (£15), which arrived at the table aflame.
For that extra bit of indulgence, every single person on the table opted for the homemade Salted Caramel Cheesecake (£5.50), which was possibly the tastiest thing on the menu, especially for those with a sweet tooth.
Despite being much smaller than the 20 lane bowling alleys of my youth, the experience here is next to none. For bowling pros there are plenty of different weights to choose from, so you can get that perfect strike, and can order drinks to your area while you knock down the skittles.
In light of the popularity of places like Bounce (table tennis) and Bar Kick (table football) it would seem that all of the nostalgic games of our youth are coming back in vogue. What All Star Lanes manages to do is to perfectly marry retro bowling with high-end food and drink, because who doesn’t want to celebrate a perfect game with a Harvey Wallbanger and Lobster Mac N’ Cheese? I will definitely be back for more.
*Pin me for later*
Disclaimer: We were invited to come down and enjoy the meal by the lovely folk at All Star Lanes, but as always any opinions expressed are my own.
If you enjoyed reading about this London experience why not check out my review of London’s first lasagna restaurant.