Harrison’s restaurant and bar in Balham re-launched this month following a well needed refurb and revamp, revealing on trend easy to choose from brasserie/diner style menus, a much slicker look, cosy private dining space and cool new NY style basement cocktail bar.
The restaurant has been established since 2007 and is run by Sam Harrison, co-owned by Rebecca Mascarenhas and Rick Stein. It occupies a prime corner spot on Bedford Hill, where a lot of new eats and shops seem to be popping up (thankfully). In all honesty Harrison’s never really appealed previously, our office is local and we might have poked our nosey noses in over the last few years, but never more than that. The interior, menu and stories of the service did nothing to encourage us otherwise, but how nice the change is in comparison. Still a similar layout to previous years but now infused with clear style credentials, with a redesign by Design LSM (Galvin La Chapelle; Goodman Restaurants; Burger and Lobster; Sam’s Brasserie & Bar) realistically it is nothing most of us haven’t seen before but maybe the first time for such smooth style in Balham? We are revelling in the easy on the eye colour scheme and loving the vibrant turquoise bar stools, velvet dining chairs and wooden clad walls of the basement bar and Private Dining room.
“Downstairs at Harrison’s” is a new candlelit, New York Style cocktail bar with booth seating. The bar offers full table service or sitting at the bar (reservations available) with a no-standing policy. This feels very intimate, cosy and just a hint of sexy, we like.
The Menu: Head Chef, Ian Leckie, previously of Harrison’s sister restaurant Sam’s Brasserie & Bar in Chiswick, (winning Time Out’s Best Local Restaurant and The Evening Standard’s Best Value Restaurant in London awards), has devised a new menu ranging from breakfast and brunch to roasts On Sundays. We are loving the range of dishes that include:
Breakfast/Brunch Roast Mushrooms on Toast, Spinach and Taleggio (£7); French Toast, Bananas, Toffee Sauce (£7.50); Corned Beef Hash, Green Eggs (£8.50).
Lunch/Dinner Ham Hock Kromeskies with Chilli Salsa Verde (£7.50); Ricotta, Wild Mushroom and Spinach Pithivier (£11.75); Lamb Shoulder Shepherd’s Pie, Curly Kale and Pickled Chillis (£14); Welsh Rarebit Crusted Dingley Dell Pork Chop, Caramelised Apples (£14)
Dessert Baked Apple, Cinnamon Stuffing, Toffee Custard (£6.50); Blood Orange Tart, Crème Fraiche (£6); Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream (£6.50).
Bar Snacks Mini Chorizo (£4); Maldon Rock Oysters, Shallot Vinegar (£2 each); Pulled Pork Chilli (£9);
Drinks: There is also a new range of cocktails including Smoked Manhattan with orange bitters; Kumquat Martini garnished with flaming kumquat and Agave Margarita served with orange liqueur crush, along with an extensive 80 bin wine list that we have yet to delve into.
We ate: A late, mid early weekday breakfast of Spinach, Mushroom and Taleggio on Toast and Pancakes with Crème Fraiche and Fruit Compote. Both colourful dishes we would happily eat daily. The pancakes might have been a little thick for my liking, verging on omelette-y but otherwise looking forward to popping back in to try other dishes. Our only real gripe would be that Harrison’s didn’t seem to be up with the coffee revolution yet, coffee standard could be raised a little higher, especially if you are across the road from Milk (best coffee in Balham – is the office consensus). The service was friendly and attentive when we visited.
Entertaining: The raised area at the rear of Harrison’s is now a private dining room and can be used for drinks parties, gatherings and meetings. The main restaurant and bar seems suitable for many occasions and we would feel happy bringing clients, friends and family along to our local, although do be aware this is very much ‘nappy valley’ territory in mid-week.
Cost: We ate breakfast for 2 with coffee for around £15 pp.
Harrison’s / 15 – 19 Bedford Hill. London, SW12 9EX / 020 8675 6900
Opening: Monday to Sunday – 9am till late.