Surrounded by the constant humming of Westfield Stratford, The Bat and Ball is a restaurant-bar that prides itself on being versatile and moldable to any mood. Hours drift by effortlessly here, and have no mistake, that's the intended purpose.
Everything about this place is gripping. The quirky walls of colourful ping pong paddles immediately fill you with a competitive urge that you never knew you had inside and likewise, it's only when you see the glass bar and many beer taps lining its surface that you realise exactly how thirsty you are. As you'd expect from a fresh bar, the walls are completely covered with vintage photographs and colourful frames. Huge words splashed across the walls giving the venue direction, telling guests exactly where everything is, and of course, you're never too far away from a sleek looking Ping Pong table. Soundtracked by the hollow echo of a plastic ball bouncing off the many surfaces, when this all comes together, the overall vibe is one of easy-going fun.
Atmosphere and Clientele
Welcoming all with a friendly handshake and a warming smile, things are purposely kept light here, making sure the night breezes by without a hitch. The majority of its clients are weary shoppers looking for a place to rest their drained feet, but with huge screen TVs and, as mentioned earlier, a collection of winking ping pong tables, it's a popular spot for both sports fans and groups of friends catching up over a few drinks.
In all honesty, the venue's dynamism makes it hard to put a finger on their target audience. But that's its beauty. It probably isn't targeting anyone. Whether you're passing time with a coffee and pastry, tucking into a hearty dinner or simply watching the big match over a pint, it caters for everything and anything. As wide a net as that may be, it gives the bar a refreshing honesty.
Food & Drink
As with every ping pong bar cum restaurant, a dinner of multiple courses is probably not appropriate. Instead, hearty comfort dishes are the preferred option, and in that, The Bat and Ball is a success. Harking cliches of 'when in Rome', we dive into the meat platter, composed of delicious spicy wings, smokey ribs, melt in the mouth pulled pork and some seasoned sausages. Moving on, and with the pizza menu in sight, we chose the Marinara and the Pepperoni pizzas to follow. Priced at £8 and £9 respectively, and in true pizzeria style, a generous twirl of toppings, explosive tomato sauce and mozzarella rested above a thin, perfectly crisp layer of dough. In the Marinara pizza in particular, the seasoning scattered over the top of the pizza complemented the sauce in such a way that created an almost moreish flavour. In tandem with the vibes of the entire place, the menu plates up a high-quality casual dining experience.
From the venue's hollow soundtrack and the colourful decor, to its hearty menu of classic Southern recipes and freshly baked pizzas, the Bat and Ball caters for every emotion and mood. Purposely laid-back, it's not imposing and instead has an air of unrivalled honesty running throughout. With that, rather than having a neon sign to welcome guests with the words 'pub & kitchen', it should perhaps more fittingly read 'pub, bar, kitchen, cafe... and everything wonderful in between'.