Harrison’s Balham – Review

Harrison’s in Balham:

I have to start this post with the sketch that always comes to mind when I think of Balham. Somehow, the words ‘Gateway to the South’ just follow on quite naturally for me. It must be an age thing. It invokes prejudice and I have to admit that I accepted the invitation to review Harrison’s more because I’ve got a lot of respect for the person who asked me…and I trust her judgement.  But…I was just a little reluctant.  Despite that, there was Burrata on the menu – a sign that Balham has arrived in the Food World?  Burrata is simply a mozarella cheese laced with cream.  But for some reason, even though it’s something that really should have a ‘Danger -Heart Attack Zone’ warning, it seems to be very popular right now.  The wiki link I’ve posted explains a bit more about how it is made – and reinforces my belief that I probably should try to avoid eating it!

I turned up a little early, to find a lively bar.  At least during the day, one area is set up for families, while around the corner there’s a child free area, in front of the open kitchen.  That to me is common sense and very considerate on the part of the management.  While I love kids, unless I am WITH friends who have them, I’d rather be in a child free area.
harrisons exterior
And you know what, it got better.  The food was really very good.
harrisons - bread
I started with olives, hummus and some padron peppers while the hedonist enjoyed burrata, clementines and honey glazed almonds with a chilli and mint dressing.  Now, I’ve heard him in his foodiest moments complaining bitterly about how whatever he’s been served hasn’t matched the Burrata he had in Milan.  Or was that Rome?  Whatever – there were no complaints this time, and had I not being trying REALLY hard to avoid eating naughty food I’d have stolen more than the tiny mouthful I managed to get my fork into.
Harrisons Padron Peppers
harrisons balham burrata
I picked what seemed to me like a real bistro ‘regular’ – chicken BLT – which turned out to be a chicken breast with bacon, lettuce and tomato in a piece of ciabatta.  Very good too, although nothing extraordinary.
harrisons - chicken BLT
The Hedonist did rather better with his sea bream, cauliflower, raisins, and pine nuts.  My take on this is that the staff at Harrisons CAN cook and although it looks like bar, you can afford to be a little more adventurous than I was.  Perhaps that’s not suprising given the heritage of the management team here who have links to Kitchen W8, The Square and the Ledbury…and it just goes to show that appearances can be deceptive.
harrisons balham fish
We also really liked the availability of many wines by the glass, by a 500cl carafe or bottle.  And the appearance of some really rather special wines, like the royal tokaji we enjoyed with dessert.  And, there’s no overpricing here, main courses are somewhere between £8.00 and £15.00 and the wine list seems very reasonable.
harrisons - chocolate fondant
The Hedonist was tempted by a chocolate fondant with caramel icecream.  It was good.  But, I was still glad that there was an option for something lighter (albeit NOT fruit)
harrisons - less fattening dessert
All in, a really good lunch in a rather unexpected location
15 – 19 Bedford Hill
London SW12 9EX

Harrison's on Urbanspoon

4 / 5 stars     
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  1. Pamela Morse says

    i would like this place. I am opposed to cauliflower, raisins and pine nuts ever being in the same dish, but other than that, swell.

    • says

      Pamela, I hope if you ever do come to London you’ll do me the honour of meeting up. I promise to find you somewhere that definitely doesn’t have cauliflower with raisins and pine nuts together on the menu!!!

  2. says

    Goodness, Balham has gone upmarket since my day. Lived there as a student and there was nothing like this. But it did have a really good food market and an excellent wholefood shop.

    • says

      well balham HAS gone upmarket (you know it’s what the estate agents call an ‘up and coming area’ these days) . This place punches above it’s weight (and price tag) I think;)

  3. Victoria says

    apart from my obsession with burrata – don’t deny yourself this divine food, anything once in a while is ok 😉 this place looks like it deserves a try. Great review, I’ll put it on my list for my visit next month!!

  4. Wends of Journeys and Travels says

    Many restaurants are going for the new trend of their menu including burratas and I am happy to have find another treasure on your post. I love the photos, epicurean they are!

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