Connect to Balham Food Festival

The Food and Drink of Balham

Peter Harden:

Balham’s vibrant food scene continues to flourish 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!

Lucky Balhamites are the envy of many Londoners, and visitors, for one reason – they have the award-winning Milk on their doorstep. Last year the Antipodean-style café was crowned London’s Best Breakfast or Brunch at the inaugural Harden’s London Restaurant Awards. Our second annual awards ceremony took place on 11 September with a glittering gala event at The Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square. Milk is certainly one of the city’s best loved brunching spots, and a great excuse to take a trip to Balham – sip a perfectly poured flat white or cure any ills with their signature breakfast The Convict and its “hangover” sauce.

Or visit Joe Lambert’s consistently excellent neighbourhood gem, Lamberts, which has long been a firm favourite in Harden’s annual restaurant survey.

And last year saw the launch of an exciting new steak specialist in SW12
– Arlo’s. With its simple menu of grass-fed British beef cuts, snacks instead of starters, options for children, and a keenly priced wine list, this newcomer offers an affordable dining destination for meat lovers.

Whether you’re looking for a decent pub, traditional Gallic cuisine, 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 27 years Harden’s have run an annual diners survey, and published a guide and review site on the basis of its carefully curated results.
Harden’s London Restaurants 2018 (“Gastronome’s Bible”, Evening
Standard) is published in October. Sign up to the free newsletter at


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.