It’s easy to sneer at Gazette’s ‘posh brasserie by numbers’ approach, where food is served on dainty boards or in dinky pails and the menu is almost comically Gallic (voulez-vous les escargots? Soupe à l’oignon? Les moules? Oui, bien sûr… you’ll find them all here). But the venue is not trying to be anything other than a smart neighbourhood bistro, which it does rather well. Cooking is solid, rather than sensational, but when you factor in the attractive dining room and can-do attitude of the young staff (who welcome parties of pram-pushing mums as readily as starry-eyed young couples), it makes for a respectable package. The all-day menu caters for the masses: at lunchtime, we like the rich, cheese-laden soft omelettes and the ‘Balhamoise’, a savoury crêpe filled with spinach, tomato and superbly salty goat’s cheese. Likewise, the excellent-value croque monsieur, while it won’t win culinary prizes, equals anything on the Champs-Elysées. For dinner, more serious options come a-calling; our ribeye steak was correctly cooked, the miniature galvanised pot of matchstick fries a fitting accompaniment. A democratically priced Francophile wine list offers plenty by the glass, half-bottle or pichet.
100 Balham High Road
|Opening hours:||Meals served 8am-10pm daily|
|Transport:||Tube: Balham tube/rail|
|Price:||Main courses £8-£17. Set lunch (noon-5pm Mon-Fri) £10 2 courses, £13.50 3 courses|
A nice looking restaurant but Parisian customer service demands Parisian food. Unfortunately "only decent" food requires at least decent service.
Really wanted to like this as Balham needs some more good restaurants but third bad visit has now ruled it out for good. Was it one of my kids cutting himself on a piece of glass lodged lying in the banquette (presumably from previous diner as there was glass on the floor) and being met with a shrug in the the direction of the toilets? Or being charged service when sitting at a table in the bar after having to go up to the bar twice to get drinks (and bill) because no service apparent (response to question about why i was being charged for non-existent service: "well I've put it through now"). And food itself varies wildly (as it did in the previous version of it elsewhere in Balham).
Soups were a decent starter however the ribeye steak was far below average and certainly not worth the price. We also had the chicken which was mediocre and came without any side. Dessert (coffee ice cream which was more cream than anything else) was not worth the extra £6.50 and the service did not warrant a 12.5% extra charge. Would not eat here again.
I chose Gazette (Balham) to host my 50th Birthday Dinner. I had around 45 guests but had never organised anything like this before. Gazette's manager (Sean) took all the stress away right from the very start of the preparations. I was given help and advice to organise the seating plan and was given extras such as a personalised menu and name cards which were all prepared by Gazette beforehand for no charge at all. Given that some of my friends were on a budget, I opted for the most economical 3 course meal which was cooked perfectly with absolutely amazingly presentation and the food was perfect French cuisine. The service was perfect in that the waiters and waitresses were friendly and curteous and treated myself and my guests like royalty. The ambience was just right and I really felt that Gazette made every effort to make my Birthday celebrations very special to the point of being magical. Hence, I thoroughly recommend Gazette for great ambience quality of food, quality of service and exceptional value for money. Plus the bar was open until 2am!
We booked dinner at Gazette for dinner (after having a delicious meal and great experience at Gazette earlier this year in January). We skipped starters, remembering the large portions from our previous trip. Having greedily spied the deserts menu, we decided to hold out for pudding. We drank G&T's in the bar, followed by the house red carafe - there is a very long and French wine list but this was quite pricey and baffling for non-experts, and actually the house red was pretty good. We ate the rib eye steak and ‘chippies’ as the waiter called them, the quality and cooking of the steak was impressive. The steak was so tender that steak knives are redundant at Gazette. Pudding was a low point for me, the tiramisu was far too creamy and rich and not what I was expecting. If I went again, I would have a look at the cheese trolley and I would recommend kicking off with a starter rather than holding out for a desert. Overall experience was great, the staff are friendly, I enjoyed the slate tables and chalk, and the food is excellent. Letting them down are deserts, slow service and having to prompt staff for drinks -but if you have few hours of an evening then definitely go and get a French dinner fix!
Being a huge Francophile I visited this wonderful restaurant a few days ago for brunch and I cannot recommend this place enough, The food is excellent and the variety available is impressive. The service was great, food arrived quickly and this is one of the best french cafe/restaurants I have been to.
I was actually quite surprised to see why this restaurant was only given an average of 3 stars by its reviewers! I give this establishment 5 stars without any reservations - the service was warm, friendly and inviting; the preparation of the food was fairly quick and presented with much care and unique flare within a variety of kitchenware, making the experience similar to a cafe on the Champs-Elysees. The menu was rather extensive in comparison to many other French restaurants I have been to. Everything from croque-monsieurs, gratin, poulets, omelletes and baguettes were presented on the menu, with a tantalizing selection of desserts. I ordered the cocotte champignon - 3 over easy eggs with a blanket of herbs, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese with slices of toast. The mocha was brilliant (highly recommend) and our tiramisu dessert was slowly savored for about 45 minutes - it was that good! If you would like to have authentic French cuisine presented to you by passionate, enthusiastic waiters in a very cozy and peaceful living-room like environment without paying top quid, you must experience Gazette! Definitely a great place for a first date and good conversation.
Gazette is a great neighbourhood restaurant and I think we are lucky to have it on our doorstep. We eat there regularly with the children at lunchtimes and occasionally in the evening with friends. We have always felt welcomed and the restaurant is definitely geared up for children - there are always lots of families eating there during the day. The food is unpretentious and authentic - better than some I have had in France. There are daily specials and a solid regular menu of French favourites. I can see why some people have been disappointed by the service - there have been times when it has been a bit stretched and there have been a few less friendly members of staff over the last couple of years, but there are also lots of regular staff who are really attentive and friendly. I've noticed the weaker ones don't tend to stay long and the good ones do. The place has a great atmosphere - busy, yet intimate. It is stylishly decorated and spacious with several different dining areas and lounging spaces. Keep up the good work Gazette.
Recently came to Gazette for dinner and not only were we really unhappy with service and food, mice ran under our feet twice and despite directing the managers attention to the situation he shrugged it off saying "What do you expect in London". We left pretty sharpish after our expensive starters, there was no way we were staying to try the mains, lets hope it wasn't grilled mouse!
Absolutely awful. Poor service, long waiting times for just a drink (40 mins) let alone food.( & the restaurant wasn't even busy, with only 2 other small groups of people) When food finally arrived, it was good. Rudest of all managers called Fabian, telling my 1 year old to shhh, not once but twice & keep the noise down when he was talking in a normal voice. ( and they say they welcome children) Bitterly disappointed by poor service & rude manager! Stay well away & dine elsewhere!
I recently went back to this restaurant of Sunday Lunch and enjoyed the experience yet again. I had the Cod which was obviously fresh. There was so much of it that I couldn't finish it. The only disappointment was the asparagus that we had as a side dish between us, there wasn't enough of it.
This restaurant gets five stars for the cheese alone. We also enjoyed watching Fabien the waiter flirt, my what a flirt!! Here is a waiter who truly knows front of house is his stage. A delightful experience, and of course we will be back. This is one of our three favourite restaurants in Balham - and Balham certainly has more than its fare share of fine ones.
Absolutely awful. Never felt the need to write a review for a restaurant before but was bitterly disappointed. Unattentive waiter, salad drowned in acidic dressing, overpriced menu and we were seated near the toilets and kitchen which wouldn't be a problem if the floor didn't 'bounce' every time someone walked past - which was often considering where we were sitting. Avoid!
My husband & I had dinner at the Gazette last night - what a lovely experience. I ordered the Beef Skirt & Shallot Sauce and it was absolutely delicious - rich in taste and prepared to perfection The wine and beer list was extensive & exciting - which was refreshing to see in Balham. It's definitely on my list of favourite restaurants in London & I can highly recommend it. The atmosphere was relaxed & unpretencious and the service was perfect. The Gazette will definitely see us again.
This place should work, but just doesn't. A set lunch should be sharp and simple. The soup was a disaster...no evidence of a stock, insipid, under seasoned and worse still, lots of it. Mains were slightly better but way over salted and seasoned, perhaps to compenasate for the soup? Service pleasant but very slow. As a Balhamite, I'd like this place to succeed, but they are going to have to sort out the kitchen. They've been going too long to be echoing the flaws noted in early reviews.
Friends and I had an excellent New Years Day Bruch at The Gazette in Balham. This is a really nice restaurant, with a very warm and inviting feel. Unlike other reviews my experience of the staff was very good. They were friendly and attentive despite a busy service. I am a big fan of the eggs Benedict – which they do very well and at a reasonable price. Friends had the ‘Full French,’ and an omelette both of which were again very good. The only negative was the iron metal hot place my eggs were served on. This affected the taste of the eggs a little – a plate would have been fine, but really this is quite minor. Balham has a lot of restaurants and this is certainly one of the better ones, great food, good ambiance and friendly attentive staff. I think the lunch menu for the quality of food is very good value. I haven’t eaten dinner there yet but look forward to trying it out. I would definitely recommend The Gazette.
What a fantastic bistro. The Gazette is one of our favorite places to eat along the Balham High Road. We usually eat the eggs benedict and their chips which are double cooked and to die for, the food is served in rustic style saucepans and on boards, lunch here really does feel special, not only do they offer cooked meals but there is also a brasserie. The Gazette has a rustic yet modern and clean feel, good ambiance, low lighting and comfy dining areas, it is very child friendly without being too noisy. Service quick and polite, staff always making sure you have a glass of water free of charge, which is a nice touch. The food did not arrive straight away and this is a good sign, it shows that it is all cooked fresh. I would strongly recommend The Gazette.
Food was 50/50. The mussels were not good, served completely dry with none of the cooking liqueur. The chateaubriand was lovely, and the pepper sauce great (despite asking for bernaise!) but the service was very slow and quite unfriendly. eg we asked what ciders they had, the waitress asked "do you like sweet ones?" When we said "yes", she replied "well we don't have any like that." It put us off quite a lot! 2 hours for a 1 course lunch and £135 for 3 people including beer and cider and a coffee to finish. Overall, wouldn't recommend.
Looks good from the outside but we got a very surly welcoming and he just pointed at a table to go and find ourselves. We waited a long time for food and were amazed at how small the kids portions were - when we asked for a bit more mash the waitress said "you'll have to pay for that" - nice. Very miserable staff and they make you feel like you are imposing. Avoid.
If you discovered gazette as the local village bistro on a holiday in France, you'd be raving to everyone back home about how good it was and how it was a shame that places like don't exist in london.
My expectations were low as at the previous Gazette I had also had problems with the service. However, I had a fantastic meal with my wife last night and food and service were good. One thing worth mentioning is the excellent beer list - I had a saison (La Chouffe), a belgian tripel (Vivat) and a trappist (Orval). The staff were friendly and efficient and this place is back on my list for meals in Balham!
Since the refurb / move, Gazette is now a spacious and vibrant destination. Two of us shared a terrine platter with warm cheese with artichoke, country / mushroom pate and fois gras pate. All very yummy. It came with a large basket of bread which the (lovely French!) waiter was happy to refill. We only had tap water to accompany, but we were never offered a refill. I realised on the way out that they are part of Taste London, and I wish I had seen the sign sooner as it would of made the bill much more reasonable. Gazette is a lovely spot to meet friends for a leisurely brunch or supper. Will def visit again.
I visited Gazette in their old location in Balham and used a Taste London card to take advantage of a 50% off offer. Had I not used it, I don't think that it would have been very good value for money. I'm a sucker for steak tartare and Gazette's did not disappoint. It comes to the table "unmixed" and the waiter kindly offered to prepare it for me or prepare it myself if I wanted. I chose to prepare it myself and it was delicious. It was so fresh and had a perfect mix of cornichons, which I love. The wine list is very comprehensive and offers a wide variety of wines, not just French which is nice as I often don't enjoy French wine. As noted with other reviewers, the service was quite slow, but I've learned to accept that in most restaurants in the UK, and on the continent, especially when it comes to French restaurants. Overall, it was a good experience and I'll definitely be back.
It's a complicated one, this, and no mistake. I agree with pretty much all the comments, good and bad! The menu's good but a but small. You'd expect that by concentrating on a small number of dishes the food would be consistently good but it's not. The surly service has improved but there are still times when you could be drawing your pension before a waiter notices you. Despite all that, on a good day you can have a truly fantastic meal here for way below fine dining prices. And the wine, beer and cider selection is magnificent. My advice is to always have the specials - which are always great - and only go when you've got time to ignore the tardy service.
Do not read the previous review!!! The food is good, the wine list is amazing and the service is friendly. I have been there 4 times already and haven't found a better deal so far in Balham.
Have to disagree with the negative review from TO - perhaps coming south of the river for a change gave them a funny turn - and the comments below. Yes it's not perfect but it's great to see someone really investing in a place in Balham & on the whole pulling it off. On two visits we've had great service & good honest cooking at decent prices. Keep ip the good work Gazette!
I LOVE THE CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE even though i am not a chocoalcolic, it is to die for - however the SERVICE IS BAD- the waitress were doing the 'mise en place' while i waited with my friend for 15 min to be asked to order some food (they ignored us completly) i had to ask a waiter to take our order otherwise i would still be there. very dissapointing when they have just opened they should take care of their clients first before their apparence. But the souffle was sublime!!
Went here last night. Service was poor, food had to be sent back as it was cold, chips were overcooked and veg arrived after we had all eaten our main. Had to share an ice bucket with another table who had their dog sat on the chair!Dreadful experience staff poorly trained and no cutlery replaced between courses. They agreed to reduce the bill by 20% but in view of how expensive it was will not be returning.
Food cold, and turned up in dribs & drabs, they can't cook steak to order & the chips were burnt- not Belgian style, just burnt & soggy. Other patrons had a dog in the restaurant. Had to share a wine cooler with the table behind us. Not value for money. AVOID. Worse meal we've had in ages.