The words ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ are bandied around a great deal these days, but Lamberts puts its menu where its mouth is. This swish Balham restaurant changes its line-up every month, showcasing the best regional British produce at that precise moment in time.
Even the aperitifs are local; on our visit, a wickedly strong ‘Tooting Stinger’ was being made with nettle cordial from just down the road, and gin from west London distillery Sipsmith. Our ingredient-led meal kicked off with a light and airy cheese puff (gougère), made with goat’s cheese from a small Somerset producer, to accompany a soup of short-season wild garlic and goat’s milk foam. Equally memorable was the wood-pigeon wellington (eating from the wild is a big deal here), which saw an unapologetically gamey and full-flavoured slice of meat wrapped in a sublime buttery pastry and served with a rich purée of burnt onion.
Ales and ciders are British too – only the excellent and sensibly priced wine list (kicking off with English sparkling wine) roams further afield. Staff are refreshingly gregarious, while owner Joe Lambert is on first-name terms with many of the regulars. Bargain-hunters take note: the midweek set menu (£17/£20 for two/three courses) is an absolute steal.