If you were unfortunate enough to have walked into the Queensway ice bowl by mistake like myself, you will know the difference between that venue and All Star Lanes Bayswater: the gulf in quality is similar to being upgraded from economy class to first class. Everything about All Star Lanes is immaculate from the moment you walk downstairs, all the vintage photographs on the wall are angled correctly, the bowling shoes you get are perfectly polished and the staff are discreet yet attentive.
The bowling lanes are expertly polished, the illuminated lights make the experience more exciting and the graphics on the scoring monitor are fun and high-tech. The only possible thing missing during our visit was the lack of decent bowlers; it was almost a competition to see who can hit the gutter most often.
Thankfully, the perfect hideaway from the embarrassment of the low scores was in the comfortable booths in their restaurant area. Their revamped menu offers something for everyone whether you want an informal burger or an extravagant whole native lobster. For the starters, we tried their buffalo and BBQ wings and then matched it with a less sinful, superfood salad. The chicken wings were well marinated and richly flavoursome. There is nothing worst than a tasty outer coating, but utterly bland tasting meat inside. The superfood salad had a great mixture of items that you should be eating 5 times a day or more but you generally tend to avoid like quinoa, kale, spinach, pumpkin, pomegranate.
Main courses mostly exceeded our expectations. The only dish which was perfectly decent, but didn’t bowl us over was the Wagyu burger. Perhaps that name should be banned on menus, because it comes with certain expectations, you will always expect an even juicier, richer patty than you are ever likely to get. Talking of indulgent flavours, the lobster Mac n’ Cheese with added bacon, wild mushrooms and truffle oil must be high on most foodies’ dream dish. Its smoky, its intense and it is just the comfort food, one needs after losing a bowling match with historically low scores.
With some difficulty, you will have to leave some stomach space for their desserts. The homestyle American pancakes we tried was as good as any you will find on this side of the Atlantic; the flour tasted fresh, the nutella topping almost impossible to ignore even if you had the willpower of a saint.
Equally deadly is their cocktail list. We ordered the sharer cocktail, the ball, which had Jack Daniel’s with strong fruity flavours coming from the apricot, passion fruit and orange juice. Best part of it all, it is served inside a “bowling ball”, so no one can see how much you’ve been drinking secretly all night.
Once you have experienced first class with All Star Lanes, you won’t be going back to any ordinary bowling lanes ever again.