Over the last year, Balham has gone into a frenzy of restaurant opening. I thought that some of you might be interested in hearing my opinions of some of these restaurants.
Hop & Spice
New Sri Lankan restaurant on Bedford Hill. We accidently went there on their opening night. In fact I think we were their first paying customers. On that night the food was pretty good although the staff were a bit over-attentive (due to first night nerves). We went back a few weeks later and the food wasn’t anywhere near as nice. It’ll be a while before we go back again.
This isn’t that new, but it’s currently the restaurant that we normally pop into when we want a quick meal and can’t be bothered to cook. It’s southern Indian food and we love it. We eat there most weeks. Try their roasted cashew nuts and treat yourself to a passion fruit lassi.
The Indian Room
The only downside of this place is that it has taken over the premises of our favourite pizza delivery restaurant and we haven’t yet found a decent replacement. It’s a worthwhile sacrifice though as the Indian Room is a fabulous little Indian. It’s only been open a couple of months but we’re going there almost as often as we go to Sadya. They do home deliveries too.
We tried this for the first time last night. It was a slightly weird experience to be honest. The food was great – well cooked and very well presented. It was a little more expensive than most other restaurants in Balham but well worth it. However the experience was rather spoilt by the staff and the decor. There were a lot of staff, but they weren’t very well trained and they seemed to spend most of their time standing around trying to avoid work. I’m sure they’ll get better with practice. But the decor needs some serious work. The walls are all black and the lighting is rather dim. Together will the music, which was slightly too loud, it was all a bit like having a nice meal in the middle of a nightclub. Oh, and they don’t have a licence yet, so you have to bring your own drinks.
The Paddyfield certainly isn’t new, but for some reason we didn’t discover it until a few months ago. It’s a great cheap Thai restaurant tucked away at the unfashionable end of Bedford Hill. In fact, thinking about it, forget that I mentioned it. It’s far too small and always busy. It doesn’t need any more customers taking up tables when I’m trying to get in.