The French Café (Balham, London)


Evening Balham smells of food, little cafes here and there, laughs heard from summer terraces – me and my friends just driving past at first were making a third circle driving being unable to decide where to go for a dinner, it all looked so attractive and we all are huge foodies and wine-lover so the dinner had to be very good and the place had to be nice as we usually spend few hours eating and drinking wine chatting the night away (my friends and Greek, there is no other way). As we see the tiny French café, we know that is the place and we are really curious as last time we had French in the La Poule au Pot and not many French restaurants could beat that one for us. So we finally park and go in…

3It was already quite a late Saturday evening and there were not many tables occupied in the restaurant so we easily picked one by the window so we can enjoy the warm summer wind. From the start, we are pleased with the waiters – everyone is friendly and smiling though I assume they were tired on that late Saturday evening an hour before the café closes. 14047-largeThe next spot is the interior – it is quite cosy and it is not a Fine Dine place, it is exactly the place to come with your family for a meal or celebration, or with your friends, drink beautiful wine and feel like you don’t want to leave. From the street it looks like a tiny café but As per food…1

We are hungry, we decide to order few Entrees and ½ bottle of wine to start with…Later I ended up getting more starters as we were on courage and wanted to try it all.

You can check the menu here.

We personally tried:

IMG_9716Moules marinières à la crème – this was so soft, so gentle, you want few kg of this. I love mussels in cream and wine and order them quite often, I can honestly say these were beautiful.

Salade de chèvre chaud au confit de tomates – goat’s cheese lovers will enjoy this, all on the spot, nothing extraordinary, great quality cheese we all loved.

Salade de crevettes d’avocats et de mangue – I had this instead of the main dish when I was already full, but I finished every little piece. Tiger Prawns, Avocado, Mango…ohh..I now make it at home adding chilli as I love it spicy. A very good starter.

Croquettes de cabillaud et saumon, sauce rémoulade – I personally would not be able to eat this as a starter and then have some main and pud. Fishcakes are not the lightest dish, but we loved it. It was perfect – lots of fish, nice seasoning, not overdone – just great.

So as you can see starters went well. At that point, we knew we found a place we want to come back and were only disappointed with not having an extra stomach to be able to try it all.

For Main course the choice was:

IMG_9717Risotto aux légumes Méditerranéens – this perhaps was the only ‘disappointing’ dish for me. And would never say it was bad, not at all, it just seemed to me not AS perfect as everything else we have tasted that evening and it was the only unfinished plate on the table. To be fair, though, I do appreciate the fact that all other dishes were much lighter then Risotto and may be on some cold day this would be perfect as a main course with no starter meal.

Loup de mer à la provençal – Oh well, I love sea bass and when it is cooked so well – what can I say. The skin was crispy as it should be, vegetables and potatoes with anchovy, garlic and herb vinaigrette accompanied it perfectly.

The dinner was finished with whisky, espresso, Trio de sorbets and Crème brûlée from the Dessert Menu. We could feel nothing but an absolute pleasure by that time so it is hard for me to describe the desserts, you have to give them a go yourself.

Overall, this is the place we will come back to and I am really looking forward to it.

From the SKINNY perspective, most of the dishes are also healthy and will not influence your diet badly, though it is up to you what you chose. The Sea Bass would be great even though it had potatoes with it as well as all the starters except perhaps the grilled goat’s cheese and fish cakes – which are still fine though if you wanna treat yourself that evening. You can also see the prices on the menu and they are in a good sense impressive what maybe makes it even more enjoyable as getting such a beautiful meal not having to sell your kidney for it makes the whole experience obviously better. I think this place is worth a trip to Balham no matter if you live next to the London Eye, it is just worth it. Take you friend or family and enjoy!

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