Opened in 2011 by two sisters, this is one of the choicer spots to while away time over a coffee when in Balham, and makes a refreshing change from the chains that are now colonising Bedford Hill. Lavish Habit is popular with people in no rush, checking their wifi. The charming interior is a draw: a feminine junk shop/hippy chic hybrid with lots of nick-nacks for sale, from antiques (more in the basement) alongside women's clothes such as snoods, plus tealight hurricane lamps and bars of soap costing £3. The Monmouth Coffee and Sally Clarke cakes are a strength; the hot lunch dishes, less so. We were disappointed to find that a flatbread merely comprised bought-in pitta bread with some hastily-assembled supermarket ingredients (cherry tomatoes, chorizo, cheese) heated on top. Better was the own-made lentil soup, but even this resembled student bedsit cooking. Stick to the excellent bought-in baking and the coffee and you might just love it.
|Venue name:||Lavish Habit||Contact:|
75 Bedford Hill
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm; Sat 9.30am-6pm; Sun 10am-6pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Balham tube/rail|
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:11
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:1
Right, let me just start by saying that Lavish Habit is different as in Good different. The whole aspect, look and feel is good and genuinely warm. From the wacky colors to the quirky gifts and clothes to the coffee and the food. The cakes are delicious and fresh and the portions are fair (maybe a wee be too much sometimes, but who's complaining!?!) I recommend the Polenta cake- moist,soft, aromatic and delicious. A crunchy,golden croissant is everything you need on an early morning run.
As for the coffee, and I am a huge coffee lover and maker- The Lavish Coffee is good. The whole thing about the lattes and cappuccinos,wherever you go,whatever you drink- you have to have a aftertaste;because lattes and capps are full of milk and the coffee taste can be covered and I believe that one can judge a good coffee by its aftertaste. The Lavish coffee, from Monmouth is aromatic and strong and you do get that caramel-y,nutty aftertaste. Their baristas are well trained and offer good coffee and accept sugestions-so if you want your coffee extra hot -they will comply. Also the staff is nice and attentive.
Lavish is very different from your East End/Shoreditch wannabe cafes in Balham. It has a real homey feel, it's trendy,but not hipsterish; it's quicky and fun. I literally spend hours there.
Just read this review this morning and I'm really surprised at the two star rating. I've been to this place a few times and always had great food. The breakfasts are particularly good and always seem to offer an interesting alternative to the standard fare offered by most places. The best thing about Lavish Habit though, apart from is warm welcome, is the fact that each time I visit there are different things on sale - both new and "upcycled" ( I think is the term!) and I never seem to leave empty handed- dammit!
A great little cafe, I think the Time Out review is genuinely unfair and should be re written. The sisters that run it are a delight and the atmosphere, food and curiosities give this place it's prestige and sophistication.
I popped in one afternoon to pick up a quick coffee. I can't tell you whether it was any good, or even what the customer service was like, because the woman in front of me made me wait for so long while she asked pretentiously and endlessly about the ingredients of every single cake on the counter. To the baristas credit, she was patient and gave as many details as she could about each one - but after a while of standing there like a lemon, while at least 3 or 4 other baristas behind the counter ignored me, I simply walked back out and made my way to Starbucks. I tried to support this local, independent business instead, but unfortunately their customers are inconsiderate, fussy, yuppy A-holes.
Have been meaning to come in for a while, and glad I did. Really good coffee! (monmouth...mmm...). Its really warm and friendly. Did a lot of my xmas shopping too! Il definately be coming back. Thanks guys!
Best coffee in Balham, really cosy atmosphere and lots of tasty food. The staff are always really friendly and helpful.
On the corner of Bedford Hill and Fernlea Rd, if it weren't for the hot chocolate I've been served with, I'd feel as though I've broken into grandmas spare room where she keeps all the things she'll never use again but that are too nice to get rid of. I am in fact in Lavish Habit, a mish mash of coffee shop and retro-retail. I'm sitting on a wrought iron stool that I could buy, should I take a fancy to it. There's a tea light holder full of teaspoons on the table and a Kilner jar of sugar cubes. Behind me is a rail of dresses and to my right is a fireplace with a range of new books and scattered around are candles, scarves, flasks, lighting to suit ALL occasions, glass wear and downstairs the 'to buy' theme continues with varying assortment of re-upholstered retro chairs and decidedly cool furnishings... Something tells me this shouldn't work and I must admit I was a little lost when I walked in. Where should I sit? Can I really sit on this if it's for sale? I'm by myself and there only seem to be tables of 4...but once I was sat I felt as if I wanted to invite friends to experience this place, feeling quite relaxed (no doubt helped by the rich hot chocolate I was sipping) I want to make this little slice of kitsch and cool my new local. The coffee is very smooth and I can highly rate the Hot chocolate (although too expensive at £2.50 for a small cup), their cakes look delicious. I couldn't see a drinks menu anywhere which was odd but it did mean that I ordered what I wanted and not what I was offered. This place also branches out in the evening to showcase comedy and live music so watch this space for new ideas...they're sure to come up with a few more before the year is out... When I've finished my drink I'll go snoop and possibly start my Christmas shopping. Bit pricey but a recommended visit if only the once.
i agree - this (and the BBC) adds an extra, retro-chic dimension to the Balham scene. The coffee is good and some of the sale items are really quirky and nice...yes, a bit pricey, but no more than anywhere else in London.
Really love the warm eclectic environment - friendly,smart service and a latte to live for !! This is a place that lives up to its name ,and is a lively addition to the village life in Balham !
tjis place s just lovely, lovely, lovely. It has a really relaxed vibe and you just go to drink coffe then you realise there are these fabulous things to buy. I wish they had more savoury food, but apparently they're only allowed cakes and pastries... Shame. The owners were really friendly. I'm glad they chose Balham rather than Couch End. Looks like they've cottoned on to that "Balham thing" that's happening. Another wonderful indie shop for us Balhamites. Did I mention that it's lovely?!
Feel welcomed by the friendly staff. Sit amongst the wonderful recycled and new quirky delights. Enjoy delicious Monmouth coffee with either a mouth watering cake or the amazing toast, and watch the world go by. Sometimes in blissfull silence or with a bit of a buzz.
Has anybody heard of " The Emperers New Clothes " or " I saw you coming " by Harry Enfield ? Seems a bit style over content really .......... products are simply charity shop / skip bits with " vintage " labels . There seems to be no thought about quality - simply the Car Boot , cheap bits from Kempton Market. . Coffee ok - babies and noise unbearable !
this cafe is a real gem, with excellent food and wonderful service. Their furniture and other items for sale are quite unique - don't miss out on their showroom downstairs. The delicious food menu has a lot of variety - the cakes and coffee are amazing, I couldn't recommend it enough.
I agree with your comments - I was delighted to find this new cafe opened up in Balham and have become a bit of a regular. The coffee is great and the place has a real friendly shabby chic atmosphere. My first few visits were a bit expensive as a I walked out with a chair under my arm the first time and some clothes and jewellery the next .... but since then have just enjoyed a bit of brunch with the papers. I can't understand the 2 star rating - would definitely be a 4 or 5 in my eyes. But hey, I'm just a happy customer.