Restaurants , Contemporary European Balham
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(10 user reviews)
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© Guy Dimond

The Avalon gastropub opened in 2008, aimed squarely at the young, affluent couples swarming into the Balham area. It remains one of the key hangouts for thirtysomething professionals seeking a decent real ale (such as Sambrook’s Wandle or Timothy Taylor Landlord) to go with footie on the telly, or a decent glass of wine on one of the deep leather sofas. Away from the occasionally raucous front bar, there are three outdoor areas, from a smokers’ front terrace to an elaborately decked rear garden, complete with its own bar. The lavishly decorated dining room, with its steampunk-style chain-link chandeliers and Victoriana theme, has a menu that started out fairly ambitious, but over the years has increasingly resorted to fail-safe pub grub such as fish and chips, burgers and steaks. Roast pork belly – one of the more interesting choices – was nicely tender with a crisp skin, and came with well-flavoured braised red cabbage and apple sauce. A lemon posset was set firm like a panna cotta, and sticky toffee pudding resembled a brownie in appearance, but both were well received. Service is slow, and prices are on the high side for pub food, but this is Balham’s poshest gastropub, where black labradors and country wellies are accessories everyone seems to aspire to.

Venue name: Avalon
Address: 16 Balham Hill
SW12 9EB
Opening hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Wed; noon-midnight Thur; noon-1am Fri; 11am-1am Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Lunch served noon-3.30pm Mon-Fri. Brunch served 11am-4pm Sat. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Sat. Meals served 11am-9pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Clapham South tube
Price: Main courses £9.50-£21
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Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
2 people listening
Milly E

Went here on Friday for lunch with some girlfriends and had a mixed experience. On the positive side it's really big and beautiful inside and clearly has some lovely outdoor spaces which sets it apart from other venues in the area. Food was also pretty good although I only had a fish finger wrap so hard to get that enthusiastic about it but that's my fault not theirs. 

On the negative side of things, the service was a bit hit and miss. I finished my food first as I was having a small wrap compared to larger meals and the waiter...i mean I'm not sure how to say this without it sounding totally bonkers but...the waiter crawled under the table and when asked what he was doing said he was 'looking for the dog under the table that had 'wolfed' my food down so fast'. Thanks pal - way to make a girl feel good about herself. 

Also we tried to used tastecards at the end of the meal which was greeted with a fair few eye rolls from the staff and some heated discussions in our earshot about how much discount they had to give us, despite the fact we had made them aware of this at the beginning of the meal. As a result we also didn't feel inclined to pay the whole of the £40 service charge they added on, opting only to pay half of that which resulted in another heated discussion as we awkwardly waited to pay. 

So yeah, ups and downs. I reckon I'd come for drinks that i'd order myself from the bar but skip the food!

Nicky G

Very much a place of contradictions. Avalon stands out in Balham - a large, grand Victorian gastropub with 'secret garden' in an area full of small cafes and bars and no gardens.  Everyone was very friendly, but it did seem like the staff was made up of half and half very experienced staff along with a bunch of new staff having their first day on the job, with no variation. We started with an Aperol and soda and they mistakenly gave me an Aperol Spritz, which wasn't a big deal but when I pointed out the mistake our server actually argued with me about what an Aperol Spritz was, which was kind of irrelevant because the point was I hadn't ordered one. Eventually they did make me a new drink and refunded the difference and then apologised far more than necessary. For dinner we ordered steak & frites with a side of greens. I had the flat iron steak, which to be fair was described as more of a thin minute steak but was still very dry and tough and only luke warm. At £17.50 could have been hot, and moister. On the other hand my boyfriend's steak was great. So erratic service, hit and miss food, but catch it on a good night and you'll have a good time.

Sam B

The good bits - great space, nice vibes, good crowd (not too rowdy, but not too quiet!), lovely beer garden, 2mins from the tube 

The bad bits - erratic service and overpriced food.... but that's it! 

All in all, this is a great pub that is perfectly suited to the local crowd. 

Lizzie W

This place is HUGE! Outdoor seating out the front on the main road, bar stools, big tables inside the pub area, a dining area and then another two outdoor seating areas. The large area at the back (you have to go through the dining room!) was the best, with outdoor heating, a bar, big tables and smaller booths and also when we went they had a BBQ and a beer festival with plenty of London ale selections for a very reasonable price of £10 for 6 half pints. Lovely to try them all - not sure about their normal beer selection. Dinner menu looked good however didn't try and didn't get to see anyone's order. Also show the sport on big screens. Would love this to be my local!


This is a favourite amongst Saaaaf Londoners because it’s big, buzzing and has an awesome beer garden. However I have found the service to be a little erratic - the staff haven’t been trained to deal with a busy pub which seems silly considering the place’s reputation. Meals tend to arrive at different times, drinks have a tendency to arrive wrong and you may be left waiting a while just to be shown a menu. However when it’s less busy, it’s difficult to find a fault with this place, and it offers and pretty brilliant pub quiz on a Monday.

Danny H

Great food, a varied choice of drinks, the best Sunday dinner in Clapham/Balham. What more could you want from a local pub? Oh and they have the football on the TV too on a Sunday afternoon - bliss!

Khin chong

Went for drinks and had the most appalling service. The staff were unfriendly, unwelcoming and did not smile or say thank you to any customers. When I mentioned this all they just disagreed with me and walked off! Not the way to handle a complaint and I won't be back.