After Bantam’s Roost Public House being on the grid now for nearly two months, I was excited to finally check out the latest venture by Roddy and Aaron Browning of the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen in Oceanside and their newly re-tooled Town Hall Public House in Vista. What I found was what co-partner Alex Kleinman had put together in Bressi Ranch Carlsbad, CA. A small pub with an outstanding menu and charming decor that took us all by surprise and already very worthy of the coveted 5-eggplant rating.
I finally met Alex at the end of our visit and found him motivated to overcome any obstacles to make Bantam’s Roost a success. Inside we found several bar and counter-style seats that limits groups or families to siting in the larger outside dining area. This busy Saturday night had us initially questioning if we would even be able to eat here as the house was already rather full. We were happy to be seated quickly outside with our group of four. It was a cooler evening (~60 degrees) and the patio heaters were obviously providing heat that we could feel, however the very slight breeze was just enough to force us to keep or sweaters and jackets on. Alex assured me new weather screens were next on his list after having just installed the roofing to help keep any rain from the patio area. I’m not really too sure the patio area would be favorable during some storms that may blow through the area. It’s a good thing for Bantam’s Roost that San Diego is known for its mostly favorable weather.
Inside, the two opposing restrooms are co-shared as one has a urinal that was obvious to one of our guests as being somewhat offensive to fathom while sitting on the regular commode; but with the busy turnover of customers, having the gender-separated small restrooms would probably prove to require patrons to wait longer in the already small interior area of this creatively designed pub. I even walked in on another patron that had left the door obviously unlocked by the green and red door handle indicators.
And a pub is what Bantam’s Roost feels like inside with tap handles hovering over an old-school trough-style (what appeared to be) urinal now used as the tap-handle sink. I loved it! There are many other Flying Pig characteristic touches throughout this place to enhance the pub feel, like the salvaged garment hooks in the restrooms, the chickens staring at you from above the bar and the small galvanized buckets of silverware and napkins on each table. Many careful touches to the decor enhanced the farmhouse feel of Bantam’s Roost.
The food we had was all very flavorful, with adequate portions that were not skimpy, nor over abundant. I enjoyed the fish & chips that came with a house-made very good dill tarter sauce. I also ordered the Bantam’s Crisp Green Apple and Goat Cheese salad. Other orders on our table included the peppery, but in a good way, Green Chili Pork Stew, the Pulled Pork Bowl and the Angus Burger. Despite some of the service flaws of the Pork Bowl being ordered, but not served with the scallions on the side; and the requested, but missing add-on egg for the burger, all of our food was delicious, well prepared, served hot and without any untimely delays. We also ordered some very flavorful, but a bit over-fried beignets. They almost completed our excellent visit, although there was no coffee or hot tea to be had . . . hell, there was no coffee to be had at any of the establishments in the same parking area, and Pete’s Coffee in the opposing lot closed at 8pm. I had learned in culinary school that some leases are difficult.
The only other service flaw I noticed was the restrooms seemed to be devoid of attention to rid the obvious paper products from the floor, and probably lack of the other less desirable necessary sanitation required. At the end of our visit, it was obvious that the co-shared restrooms need to be much more systematically cared for as many of the same paper towels I saw upon arrival never made their way into the waste can as I departed. Perhaps that’s part of, but I don’t think intentionally so, the pub feel.
Bantam’s Roost. A true gastro-pub located in a competitive culinary market, serving excellent food, beer selections and a farmhouse-friendly feel. After being here only a couple of months, they are already off to a great beginning for a long-lasting Flying Pig impression.