SW12 has been christened ‘Clapham’s cooler younger sister’ making Balham one of the hippest areas in South-West London right now. With Nick Jones recently opening his Chicken Shop on Chestnut Grove to Ed Sheeran recording one of his first live EPs at The Bedford, Balham is where you want to be and the Handbook will guide you through the best places to go.
The Best Wood-Fired Pizza in Balham and Probably South London
With hefty competition from the likes of Franco Manca and Pizza Express, the Honest Italian triumphs. Their authentic Italian ethos is manifested in their food and welcoming attitude. Using a wood-fired oven, fresh ingredients, especially the flor di latte mozzarella, with these hugely generous pizzas (and helpings of limencello if you’re in their good books) you won’t be able to eat a Domino’s again.
Vintage, Antique-Style Pub
Owned by the company who also run Dogstar, East Dulwich Tavern and Tooting Tram & Social (familiar watering holes for South-West/East London dwellers), Hagen & Hyde is also a quirky, off-beat pub situated in the heart of Balham. The vintage interior gives city-livers an escape from a reality with H&H offering real ales, cocktails and incredible pub grub. Live music, quiz nights, big screens and a patio terrace makes Hagen & Hyde the hub of Balham’s hip, young and cool.
Bakery for Sweet and Savoury Treats
One of Balham’s most recent additions, the Blackbird Bakery has already gained a phenomenal reputation for providing not only delicious sweet treats but great savoury food as well. You could sit there and eat all day if you really wanted to. Croissants and pastries for breakfast, salads, quiches, pies, rolls and frittatas for lunch and the glorious usual brownie, flapjacky, meringuey delicacies for the rest of evening. Best of all, although not entirely sticking with the Balham theme, the Peckham store has started serving beer and pizza for the evenings. Take note, SW12.
Permanent Shops and Rotating Stalls
2011 saw almost half a million pounds poured into Hildreth Street Market in an attempt to make it a destination for the local Balham-ers, and it was very successful indeed. Boasting the (permanent) likes of Julie’s Nails, Brickwood and Milk (both great for breakfast FYI), Hildreth Street Market is ever-changing and improving to become one of the hotspots of Balham. At the weekends, the street is host to a fantastic farmers’ market showcasing dozens of stalls all varying in what they sell, but all delicious. Eat your heart out, Venn Street.
With a seasonally-changing menu, Lambert’s offers the best of British food and a cracking roast. The family run business means there is a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere, and no matter how hungover you are, a Sunday lunch at Lambert’s is impossible to pass on. This summer sees Lambert’s take a twist on the classic roast offering several variations of fish and lighter pork, chicken or beef mains. Highly recommended here at The Handbook.