The best of Balham

I first started compiling this list as a welcome to Balham for my friend Cat. As I was thinking about places to recommend to her, I realised just how good the area I live in is, that I probably eat too much, and that really, the secrets of this little southwest gem ought be shared with you, too.

Cupcakes from Des Lys bakery

8 Bedford Hill

Time it right, and as you walk into this family-run bakery you’ll be overwhelmed by the smell of rising-in-the-oven home baking – it’s phenomenal. Every single delight on sale, from flaky croissant to crusty baguette, is baked on the premises in the downstairs kitchen. The pièce de résistance? Freshly made vanilla cupcakes that are so good, they could easily put Hummingbird Bakery out of business.

The Paddyfield

4 Bedford Hill

This tiny little Thai restaurant is B.Y.O.B (bring your own bottle). It gets busy, you normally can’t book and they do the best fresh spring rolls I’ve ever had – don’t let the idea of them put you off like it originally did for me – they are simply heavenly.

Mr Happy chip shop

Seascape Fish Bar, 9 Bedford Hill

This fry bar not only has the usual fish and chips, but service with much more than just a smile. The owner is one of the nicest men I have ever met, and his business, at least in my house, is therefore affectionately referred to as ‘Mr Happy Chip Shop’.

Duke of Devonshire

39 Balham High Road

It’s huge, it has a garden, it serves beer. Enough said.

Bertie and Boo

162 Balham High Road

Although often slow on the service front, sometimes sold out of toasties and randomly, detox drinks, I still meet the same friend here every time we catch up – there’s just something so quaint about it.

Eggs Florentine at The Exhibit

12 Balham Station Road

Tried and tested, this is the place that changed my opinion of poached eggs from scary to scrumptious. It’s great for a simple, yet really hearty breakfast (and not so nice coffee). Best of all, most of the brunch menu is priced at a wallet-pleasing £6.50 too.

Sri Lankan Roti at Hop & Spice

53 Bedford Hill

For £8.95 you can eat in or take away a delicious mix-up of Sri Lankan street food (a little like bubble and squeak). Lashings of mango chutney, yoghurt raita and mini popadoms complete this mouth-watering dish.

The Kebab Company

85 Balham High Road

Try the jam-packed halloumi and falafel wraps. Not only are they so good (who doesn’t love halloumi?) one is more than enough to feed two with some chips on the side.

Balham Bowls Club

7-9 Ramsden Road

A cool little original bowls club (now a pub) which has recently been refurbished. On Sunday 26th June, the people behind Judy’s Affordable Vintage take over the club with their retro garms and goodies. Vintage on my doorstep? Who’d have thought Balham could get any better. You can certainly bet I’ll be first in the queue.