The huge and varied menus offered by a lot of food pubs these days can often bewilder, with choice turning into a burden for the indecisive customer.
Which is why the new menu at The Common Room in Devonshire Street, which focuses on chicken, burgers and vegan alternatives, is refreshing to see.
The pub, part of the True North Brew Co stable, still has an American theme but has narrowed its menu with the aim of creating tasty comfort food that sells well.
Classic fried chicken is the main dish on offer, either in a bun or on its own, with a variety of sauces including Japanese katsu and Korean ssam alongside the more traditional barbecue accompaniments.
There are also three beef burger options, and for those who don’t eat meat there is the ‘Mockin’ Bird’ made of seitan, a meat alternative produced from wheat.
We had hoped to try the seitan but perhaps were unwise to visit on a quiet Monday lunchtime after Tramlines - The Common Room had enjoyed huge demand over the weekend so had run out of that and several of the side dishes.
Instead I opted for the CBA burger - chicken, bacon and avocado - with halloumi cheese. My friend went for chicken thighs ‘Dirty South’ style, with greens and gravy, both served with fries.
Rounding out the feast were fried pickles, ‘cauliflower wings’ and extra fries with katsu sauce.
The chicken was great - moist and with plenty of seasoning in the batter. My burger was a delicious monster, while the gravy that came with my friend’s main was as good as you’d find in even the best Sheffield chippy.
The cauliflower wings were a nice surprise, with the deep frying process leaving them slightly mushy and completely satisfying.
The pickles were a little on the sweet side for me, but well cooked - just leave them to cool down for a second before you bite into them.
And while we could be accused of having eyes bigger than our bellies, we didn’t leave much behind on our plates.
Washed down with a ‘One For The Road’ non-alcoholic espresso cocktail, this was a good lunch for a slightly chilly day.
We spent £40, but for those on a budget there are several £6 mains served Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm.
The abundance of television screens showing sport may not be to everyone’s taste, but the new menu at The Common Room is well worth a try.