Connect to Balham Food Festival

The Food and Drink of Balham

Peter Harden:

Balham’s vibrant food scene continues to fizz along thanks to the support of residents and events like Balham Food Festival, which showcase everything the area has to offer – and there’s so much!

Balham’s meat-eaters are the envy of many Londoners, with fantastic options including Arlo’s, with its menu of grass-fed British beef cuts; Bodean’s, with its trademark pulled pork and other gen-u-ine US BBQ items; and Balham’s outpost of Foxlow, where you can kick off the evening in its speakeasy style bar The Owl. Eating on the run? There’s always elite burger chain Haché.

London’s love affair with Hispanic cuisine continues apace and one of its most famous Spanish importers, Brindia, not only has its warehouse in Balham, but also boasts a branch with a superb array of cheeses and hams, including the renowned acorn-fed iberico bellota ham.

When you are tired of brunch you are tired of life so it is said (I just said it) and in Milk – the winner of the Harden’s London Restaurant Award 2016 for Best Brunch – Balham has one of London’s finest destinations. Our third annual awards ceremony has just taken place on 10 September with a glittering gala event at The Langham: one of London’s most famous hotels. Milk is certainly one of the city’s best loved brunching spots, and a great excuse to take a trip to Balham… so long as you are prepared to brave the queue.

Or, perhaps you are looking for a more sophisticated dinner. Visit Joe Lambert’s consistently excellent neighbourhood gem, Lamberts, which has achieved some of the highest ratings over a long period of time in Harden’s annual restaurant survey.

Whether you’re looking for a decent pub, traditional Gallic cuisine, sushi, authentic pizza, independent wine shops, or just a great cup of coffee, Balham has all this and more. And Balham Food Festival is the perfect way to see it! So bring the whole family, check out the special offers and events, and discover this bustling corner of south London for yourself.

Peter Harden

For 28 years Harden’s have run an annual diners survey, and published a guide, app, and review site on the basis of this carefully curated market research. Harden’s London Restaurants 2019 (“Gastronome’s Bible”, Evening Standard) is published in October. Sign up to the free newsletter at or buy the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.



John Torode said in 2015:

Balham is a fantastic place to live and it’s only last year that I’ve moved on to pastures new. Balham’s community is one of the warmest I’ve known and I’ll miss it: people talk to each other here.

Having access to good ingredients and places to eat out is, as you’d imagine, hugely important to me, and I doubt very much I’d have been living in Balham for the past 13 years if it hadn’t been such a great location for an unrepentant foodie like me.

In addition to having wonderful independent food shops such as Chadwick’s, I would always be able to find a good place to eat out with family and friends in Balham. The variety is fantastic: French, Nepalese, Indian, Fine Dining, British, Italian, Caribbean, Chinese… everything you could want. And the quality is excellent too – two of my favourites being Gazette and Ciullos.

I’ve seen Balham change a huge amount since we first moved here, not least in the last year or so with the regeneration of the town centre and the rebirth of Hildreth Street as a food and drink destination and café (mocha?) mecca.

A food festival is the perfect way to celebrate the diversity, quality and exciting direction that Balham is taking. I recommend you take the opportunity presented by the week of Festival discounts to get a real taste of what Balham has to offer.


John Torode’s book ‘My Kind of Food’, published by Headline, is priced at £25.