Balham has got all the important Bs going on. We’re talking brunch, boutiques, boozers, and really cute dogs. Okay, technically that last one doesn’t start with a b, but the point is we love this area of south London. We also really love the food in this area of London, thanks to all of the great little neighbourhood restaurants which are all, importantly, in this guide.
A 'Dutch Baby' Brunch
Aunt Bessie, sit the fuck down, there’s a new Yorkshire pud in town and this time it’s the size of a frisbee, tastes like pancakes, and comes with fried chicken. Arguably one of the most beautiful brunch dishes this great city has ever been blessed with, you should pair it with one of Apple Blue’s iced Spanish chai lattes. They’re also excellent. Please note: thanks to the Yorkie x KFC collaboration brunch dishes we’ve all been waiting for this place gets very busy at the weekend.
If Apple Blue is what we would lovingly call ‘very bloody busy’, head to Balham’s other premier brunch and coffee spot, Milk. Although we’re not going to lie, it tends to be busy too. What can we say? Brunch is big in Balham.
Try Balham’s Best Pizza
If you’ve ever participated in the delicate British art of watching Eastenders, you’ll know that love triangles tend to be messy. But there is another type of love triangle out there. A better one, a tastier one, an edible one that doesn’t in any way involve Ross Kemp screaming. We are of course talking about the pizza slice. This colourful and casual spot on Ritherdon Road is just the place to find a great one in the area, with toppings from ’nduja to truffle mushroom. It’s the aubergine, feta, and chilli number that has our hearts though, especially when combined with a frosé in the sunshine out on their front terrace.
Or get yourself to the Balham location of mini-chain, Yard Sale, for one of their satellite-sized pizzas.
A Seafood Bucket Deal ft. XXL Lobster Tails
Any meal that requires gloves is a big old yes from us. Partly because we have a real soft spot for accessories - please see ‘ways Cher Horowitz formed our whole personality’ - but mostly because it always signals that you’re about to get down and dirty with some tasty food. In the case of Trap Kitchen, the food you’ll be getting your PPE on for is their XXL meaty lobster tails that come as part of their winning £40 bucket. Alongside your mac and cheese, Oreo-topped waffles, and our lord and crustacean saviour, those lobster tails, you can also get involved with their rum-packed slushies. After all, Cher Horowitz would approve.
You can also get your seafood fix with the spiced squid and rich clay-oven king prawns at Nepalese spot Gurkhas. The menu claims the dish is favoured by young princes. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
Duck, Dim Sum, And Damn Good Negronis
If you’ve spent the day doing lengths of the local lido like SW12’s answer to Michael Phelps, then you deserve this excellent duck. That being said, if you spent the day calculating how long you could hold your pee to save you from walking the tragic 12 steps to your flat’s bathroom, you also deserve this duck. Because when duck is this tender, sweet, and has the crispiest of perfect crispy skins, everyone deserves it. Seeing as you’ll already be at this restaurant on Ramsden Road, you might as well indulge in their Sichuan dumplings, bang bang chicken, and cask-aged negronis as well.
The Red Duck fully booked? Head next door to Mexican cantina 1910 for equally feel good energy and strong cocktails. FYI both have catch-up-ready front terraces.
A Spicy Cocktail That Screams Sexy Date Night
Sure, when you were 16 you smoked cigarettes behind the school bike shed to show any prospective partners that you were oh-so cool. Thankfully, that tragic right of passage has passed and now you can replace smoking (coughing) with spicy cocktails when you’re looking to spark a little romance. The Nutty Mai Tai at buzzing multi-story bar, The Exhibit will do just that. They’ve also got all of your classic cocktails covered and have plenty of outdoor space if your date happens to coincide with golden hour.
There’s no lack of good date drinking spots in these parts, but Brother Marcus’ charming little back garden should be at the top of your agenda if you’re going to be doing - or at least attempting - to flirt. Get the mezcal and pomegranate Dumanli cocktail.