The Exhibit

Bars and pubs, Café bars Balham
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(61user reviews)
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Venue says Elevate every Sunday from 3pm. Live DJs, garden party, £5 cocktails.

A large hub of entertainment in south London that is a bar, restaurant, cinema, gallery, live music and comedy club, and yoga studio rolled into one. The focus, though, is on the food and drink.

Expect an all day menu ranging from the 'full Exhibit' (avocado on toast, chorizo, tiger prawns, black beans and eggs) to buttermilk-fried chicken burgers, linguine vongole and pan-fried sea bass with garlic and coriander prawns, samphire and lemon. 

The drinks list is strong on cocktails, with elderflower martinis (gin, elderflower and cucumber) alongside a rum dog millionaire (rum, mango, lime, blackberry liqueur and ginger beer) and a watermelon cooler (tequila, watermelon, blueberries and lime). A short wine list and craft beers by the bottle and can also feature. 

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The Exhibit says
The Exhibit is an all-day drinking and eating in Balham with a revolving programme of events, as well as flexible spaces for hire. We have a boutique cinema, beautiful areas and rooms for you to hire, a huge garden plus three floors of creativity for you to explore. For brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks.

We love to get involved, and host regular comedy nights and life-drawing classes, and have a DJ every Friday and Saturday where you can dance the night away! We have recently launched a new menu which includes vegan, veggie and classics, not to mention our desserts which we promise will be worth the extra calories! We also have a delicious selection of cocktails and craft beers which are served seven days a week.

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Posted:

Venue name: The Exhibit
Contact:
Address: 12 Balham Station Rd
London
SW12 9SG
Transport: Tube: Balham
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:37
  • 4 star:14
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|61
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tastemaker

The Exhibit is a multi use venue near Balham tube –  a bar, restaurant, cinema, live music venue and comedy night depending on the night of the week!


I visited on a sunny Sunday and had brunch on the balcony which was just lovely! For only £20 extra you can get bottomless prosecco so obviously I chose that option… They have a more typical ‘brunch’ selection from 10-4 and also smaller plates and sharers and larger plates from midday. We started with a couple of small plates of  Crispy Vegetable Tempura with ponzu (particularly liked the butternut squash!) and Hoisin Duck with lettuce parcels, sesame, spring onion, cucumber + chili – actually really decent portions and the duck was delicious.


On to the main event (a few prosecco’s down by this point) we had The Prosecco Brunch: tiger prawns, chorizo, avocado + fried eggs and the Buttermilk Pancakes maple syrup with bacon. Again – very decent portion sizes and the prosecco brunch had everything on it (including a cheeky order of halloumi!).


Finally, we ended with Watermelon Ice Pops with tropical fruits and mango sorbet which cleaned the pallet!


This was the launchof Apotheca with 5 DJs playing until 11pm! We ended up leaving around 6ish and it was in full swing. If you are looking for a fun Sunday with good food at reasonable prices and plenty of outdoor space, then visit The Exhibit!

tastemaker

Just a few steps from Balham tube station, The Exhibit welcomes you to this vibrant neighbourhood full of small shops and restaurants. The idea of melting together a cinema and a café/restaurant/bar is brilliant as it makes this venue live all the day. If the outer space is maybe too exposed to the main street, the cosy interior makes you feel immediately at ease. The american-80s-like atmosphere is enhanced by the checked tiles on the floor, the timber stools to the counter in the middle of the ground floor and the big aquarium on the right. A metal ladder brings you upstairs to the poorly looked after restrooms and the cinema room, fitted with leather couches and soft cushions.

At the café/restaurant, the service is kind but slow and not very attentive. The brunch menu is varied and interesting.

I went for a classic and I ordered a basic bagel with salmon, poached eggs and smashed avocado, to test the quality of the food: I am a fan of "The simpler the better"! It was good, although not amazing. My soya cappuccino, instead, was delicious (and HUGE!), the foam very firm and creamy at the same time, which is something extremely difficult to find.

I will certainly go back for a film and, why not, for a Prosecco brunch!

tastemaker

The brunch meal I had at the Exhibit was one of the best I’ve had in London. The ‘Prosecco’ brunch consisting of prawns, chorizo, avocado and a fried egg was absolutely delicious and the 'mac and cheese' was very flavoursome. Service was great too, however I felt the atmosphere of the room was a bit cold and we felt a bit crammed in sat underneath the stairs – the other side of the room looked much more inviting wth the large fish tank. I would return however as the food was so yummy.

 

Tastemaker

Wow. How did I not know about this place before? They have everything to keep you busy - a cinema, an art gallery, a music venue, a space for classes and workshops (yoga and live drawing among others). Incredible.

But the best bit is the food. They offer really great cocktails and mockails as well as incredible brunches. Try the tiger prawns! They're so big and tasty. Mac n' cheese side is also delicious. The burger however lacked in flavour. Shame because it was the only thing bringing the place down a little.

Service is uber friendly with jokey and fun waiters. Love it.

tastemaker

We visited The Exhibit for brunch recently one Sunday - the food was very good, particularly their rather unique tiger prawn & chorizo dish (the 'prosecco brunch') and the veggie breakfast (you had me at 'halloumi'!). We also ordered sides of mac & cheese - nice flavours and much better than most of the blander versions that London pubs usually serve. The staff were also attentive and very friendly - the only downside is that the downstairs seating area directly below the staircase is quite dark, so request to be seated nearer the aquarium or on the first floor.

tastemaker

The food here is generous and delicious.

I loved my buttermilk fried chicken burger (sorted my hangover out!) and the Thai green curry with meatballs my husband had is such a clever twist on a classic, I'm annoyed I didn't think of it- it had a real kick to it and tasted good!

We also had a side of mac and cheese to share between two of us which was tasty and a very generous portion; and an iceberg wedge with blue cheese sauce and bacon.

Bloody Mary's were 3,5 out of 5 (no celery, nothing special) but I loved the Palermo cocktail that had tequila, grapefruit and salt.

The restaurant is spacious and arty. There's a big fish tank on the wall and a cinema upstairs. It's a really good use of space, sit over 3 floors.

They do a good meal and movie deal.

You could easily spend all day and night there- start with brunch, see a movie, have some cocktails, then dinner. Then maybe more cocktails.

The service is quite casual, sometimes too casual. A few times servers stood on the stairs next to our table shouting questions and instructions to each-other. And there was often a waiter walking around with plates of food and no clue who they were for. Our meal nearly ended up on someone else's table initially.

But once we got it we enjoyed it.

I wouldn't recommend it for a romantic meal for two but definitely for a night out with a group of friends. It's a party, arty place.

tastemaker

For my first trip to Balham, I was blown away by this hidden gem. The "youth club for adults" was absolutely enormous consisting of a cinema, restaurant, studio and gallery. In fact, before the meal was over, my friend and I had already signed up for a life drawing class in a couple of weeks time.

When we arrived, the girl struggled a bit to find our table, taking us to three different tables before someone helped her out. Then the lovely KEVIN came over! He is just a bundle of joy. He was so attentive, gave us some great recommendations and his dance moves were on point. We both ended up ordering the prosecco breakfast which came with toast, perfectly seasoned avocado, tangy tomato salsa, soft chorizo and enormous, delicious prawns. Kevin suggested a size of halloumi as well which as he said, was the perfect addition. When our meal arrived, Kevin stated "we call it the prosecco brunch because it's great with prosecco. Would you like a glass?" Obviously the answer was yes. Every time it dipped below the halfway line, he was back topping it up. It was heaven. I cannot wait for the life drawing class and to see what more this venue has to offer.

tastemaker

Cool venue in South London, located near to Balham train station and the Northern Line.  Described as a youth club for adults this definitely is a good description; the venue has a bar serving food from brunch at the weekends and lunch from 12 until the evening, they have a cinema, gallery and event space where they host comedy nights.  There is plenty of seating inside and out and upstairs there is a balcony, unfortunately the weather was too inclement to test it out.


I went to try the brunch, I aimed for a lunch time slot so the lunch options would be available too.  The staff were friendly and helpful, they could have been a bit more attentive and offered me a substitute for eggs but the food was well presented with plenty of flavour.  


I opted for prosecco brunch, this was two large prawns with avocado on toast and chorizo minus the fried egg.  To go alongside it I opted for more seafood as this is one of my favourite things; fried octopus which came with chorizo and cannellini beans. The prawns were huge and had plenty of flavour complemented by the chorizo and avocado. The octopus was tender and soft melting into my mouth.


My husband chose smoked salmon which came with scrambled egg in a bagel and sweet potato fries on the side. There was a good amount of salmon filling the bagel with a mix of scrambled egg and the fries were crunchy and soft.  Another reason for me to come at lunch time was so I could enjoy a cocktail with my food, I find it much easier to drink this a little later on in the day.  I chose the rosie and gin, which came in a tall tumbler glass a good red colour decorated with a piece of rosemary; it was fruity and sweet with a good herby taste of the rosemary.


They also offer bottomless processo for £20 and do an evening deal of a main with unlimited wine on weekday evenings and dinner with a film.  I'm sure I'll be back for some more even if it is the other side of London to me.

tastemaker

This place has great potential to be a brunch hotspot, with is delightful menu and variety. Sadly the deal we were on was not clearly explained leaving to a bit of disappointment. The alternative dish of Mac and cheese where last very tasty, lacked a crispy top. The prawns were flavoursome with a very fresh and minty couscous with tabbouleh, not what I ordered but equally tasty. Service was ok but not attentive given that there were only 4 tables. The food was of good quality, the toilets need a bit of attention and service sadly lacking. Having said that Kevin seemed to do a great job with his paying brunch table where the prosecco flowed freely.

tastemaker

This is one of my favourite places in London for a good Sunday brunch. They do a great (and affordable) bottomless brunch option where for £20 you can drink unlimited prosecco (and it's nice prosecco too!) for 1.5 hours. I'm a bit of a slow drinker so they've always given me a little extra time because of that as well.

The menu is small but will still have you torn over several dishes and the food is always great- quick to come out, colourful and well cooked. I can personally recommend the sweetcorn fritters!

On a sunny day you can sit on the mezzanine balcony, downstairs out front or in their garden and for the more likely rainy day, they have a spacious indoor layout. Staff are lovely and customer service is above and beyond.

Will always return to and recommend!

Tastemaker

My boyfriend lives down the road so we've been here a few times for brunch or a lime and soda. The fact that it's so big and the outdoor and indoor spaces means it's an all day, all year round kind of place. It may sound weird to rave about a lime and soda at a bar, but seriously they make the best lime and soda - it has this homemade lime pulp with a bit of cordial and is the perfect drink on a hot day.

tastemaker

Having visited on a saturday night for birthday drinks, its a great place for a weekend social. The venue has a cool and modern design and the drinks and the food platters that I sampled were really good. The atmosphere is pretty chilled with a good crowd of people. The location is also great as its right by Balham station!


The bottomless brunch is a great option for people in south west London who don't always want to trek to Shoreditch for a boozy brunch! It is reasonably priced, as nearly every bottomless brunch I've come across costs £35 or more and here it is £20 for unlimited prosecco plus one dish from the menu. We were told the chef is Italian which I think is a good sign. Our food was delicious and they are very generous with the bubbles. I will definitely come here for brunch again and will be checking it out on a Friday night for the £4 drinks for 4 hours offer.

tastemaker

So I have not yet been to The Exhibit to eat or drink, but I felt it was worth a review for the other things they have to offer. This is more than just a restaurant my friends. 

I went to The Exhibit to go to a cinema screening of T2. I always try and find 'different' cinemas to go to rather than your average Odeon as I never really enjoy the experience and after trying The Clapham Picture House a few times I thought I would give this closer to home venue a try. 


It does exactly what it says on the tin. We did arrive quite close to starting time so we had to sit right down the front so I would advise getting there early for a middle row seat. However, since all the seats are two seater, really comfortable sofas, it wasn't the usual pain to sit down the front at all- once you arranged yourself it was really comfy. You could purchase drinks at the bar to have inside, and possibly snacks although there is an option when you buy your tickets to have dinner before the movie. 


I would definitely go back to this cinema! 


The cocktails are some of the best in town and love, love, love the outside space.


I can find myself at The Exhibit for all different occasions: a quick coffee with a friend, a decent meal with my partner, a night out with friends and a breakfast with a bloody mary to recover! ;) It is spacious, but cosy and there's always a relaxed atmosphere. I keep on coming back!


We go more for the brunch than the pub, but the food is fantastic. The best chilaquiles I've had outside of NYC!


Great for drinks and delicious food! Really friendly staff too. Private hire spaces and quirky cinema make the Exhibit the place to be in Balham!

Tastemaker

I find myself a bit conflicted when it comes to The Exhibit. On the one hand i'm devastated by the referb - the removal of a proper dance floor (crowded as it may have been on a Saturday night, fun could always be guaranteed) has meant that the dancing you so desperately crave after several bevvies at the BBC or Hagen & Hyde can no longer be satisfied. While they move the tables and chairs aside for space to *kind of* dance around the bar area, it isn't quite the same as it once was. Earlier in the evenings the music is really loud so socialising inside isn't an option unless you're dining. It's kind of fenced itself off as an 'all night' venue and made it a last resort venue when the other places in Balham have kicked you out.


Restaurant wise: there are a few cracking dishes on their menu. The burgers pretty much always nail it - big, juicy and satisfying, and I still think very fondly of the Pollock, Langoustine and Potatas Bravas dish I enjoyed a few months ago. It was succulent and tender, sweet and tangy yet hearty and rich. If Deliveroo could bring that to my desk right now actually that'd be fab. The duck tacos are also a must-order from the starter section. A bit of a chinese meets mexican fusion, with jolts of tangy citrus and bold sweetness of hoisin. It hits a few key tastebuds that leave you very happy indeed.


When it comes to events at The Exhibit, there are plenty to choose from. Last night I went to the Gallery (on their top floor - this place is a creative tardis filled with rooms you'd never think existed) and spent 2 hours enjoying the bi monthly life drawing class run by Dan Whiteson who is a wonderful artist and a fantastic teacher. The 2 hours were spent experimenting with different techniques and approaches to life drawing, drawing on emotions, movement, light and music (the soundtrack to the night was incredible!) and by the end of the 2 hours we all had a selection of interesting images we had drawn of the beautiful (and brave) life model. You can drink throughout if you fancy, and I can tell you now, 2 hours of mindless creativity with a glass of red is better than any therapy you could ever want, and for only £7 including all your materials it's an absolute must do. 


So while I am sad that The Exhibit is no longer the place to go for a boogie on a weekend, it still has so many other brilliant qualities and things to enjoy there, there really is something for everyone.

Tastemaker

The Exhibit used to be a Balham stronghold; cool bartenders, reasonably priced delicious cocktails, great music, (live and playlists) and an aquarium. What more could you want?

Well, those behind the Exhibit seem to think a lot more. Last year, it was completely refurbished and with the removal of the old sofas and wooden bar, along went the vibe and essence of the place. Don’t get me wrong, the Exhibit now looks super slick. Black and white tiles, edgey lights, a square central bar, but it has now become another typical bar  and I long for the grimy Exhibit of days gone by.

Some say that its inclusion of a boozy brunch has saved those prosecco and bacon craving Balhamites. But the brunch, when nestled just around the corner from proper brunch powerhouses such as M1lk and Brickwood, is a tad disappointing. The staff were clueless and most of the dishes were not on the menu (who knows they may be the better ones), but the ones we ordered unfortunately fell short of the breakfast bar. The Chilaquiles with spicy tomato salsa, avocado, sour cream and cheese (though the last three ingredients were so non-existent, that I am surprised they can add them to the menu) were initially tasty, but on further munching, were overwhelmed with spice and heat which became a bit dull and instead of being light and crispy, were soggy and doughy in the middle. The French toast croissant served with poached pear and Chantilly cream is a really innovative idea, and one I think if tailored with, could be a winner, but in fact the dish was just a bit bland.

The burgers are still as good as ever; juicy, satisfying and with creative toppings and the cinema on the top floor shows retro films in a cool location, however I can’t help but feel that the Exhibit has sold out. Its bouncers now randomly select over-21 nights, are rude to locals who have been coming for years and the food and atmosphere is somewhat lacklustre. A real shame. 

Tastemaker

As I was looking for a nice place to brunch in South West London where I’ve just moved, I’ve randomly found The Exhibit. I was quite surprise as it’s not only a restaurant but also an independent cinema and a party venue.

I’ve been caught by their weekend bottomless brunch offer…yes…bottomless meaning unlimited bubbles or Bloody Mary’s! The food is delicious and freshly made. I highly recommend their eggs benedict which are amazing and very well seasoned. 

The staff was very friendly and accommodating. As they were fully booked for brunch, they gently found a place for us - and make sure that my friend’s diet requirement was well executed by the Kitchen. 

Overall, it’s a cool spot with a great atmosphere where to brunch. I’m definitely going back for lunch or dinner - or even for a movie. 


Not been to this neck of the woods since I left three years ago and this week, when friends suggested we meet at The Exhibit I can't say I was that chuffed to return. From memory, which admitted is a bit hazy The Exhibit was a music cheese fest with copious drink offers.


Well I did go, on the promise that there have been a few changes......and what changes!!  The Exhibit is fantastic, the vibe is very current, with great staff who welcomed me like a long lost friend (of course I didn't know any of them!). Not intending to eat much we ordered a couple of the small (tapas style) dishes just to snack on. A few hours in and we had pretty much gone through the menu! The food had a very eclectic mix of flavors which went down surprisingly well with the excellent cocktails.  The place has a great contemporary feel and for a Thursday night it was buzzing with activity, with a play list that made me wish it had been the weekend!  

My move away from South London for North was partly driven by finding places like The Exhibit, it seems I left too soon!


Great venue, I'll be back.

tastemaker

So this review is for the Movie Quiz, Dinner Menu and Cocktails.


The movie is dull and unimaginative, the organisers took it upon themselves to plug their Tarantino NYE party which destroyed the quiz and atmosphere, I wouldn't go again it isn't interactive or fun!


The cocktail menu is very expensive with no happy hour incentives. The service highlights a lack of care. I ordered a drink and when it was brought over to me , the staff took it upon themselves to substitute ingredients without asking me and after I had already paid. Needless to say, the drink was not that nice !


The food is actually nice and on tastecard which makes it a nice option. The burgers look impressive, I opted for a few tapas dishes. The dishes could be more descriptive so we actually know what we are getting. It is quite a unique fusion of British/Spanish/Caribbean. The jerk mutton is lovely and not too spicy, I enjoyed the goats cheese fritter and the calamari too!


I've said in past reviews this is more of an event space rather than a place you can go and socialise after work or on a dinner date etc. Some nice things but they really need to sort their drinks menu out. The pricing is top end for the area with not much attention to detail and no happy hours.

Tastemaker

Rolled into the Exhibit on Halloween, after who knows how many episodes of saying to myself, must check that place out soon. Im so bored of saying that, I finally bit the bullet and took myself in to see what it's like.


It's really geared around being more of an 'event venue' I do like the central bar, but the whole feel of the place is a bit odd. The outside drinking terraces look fun, but to be fair, the whole place seemed a bit over-hyped and expensive for what it actually was.


Decor isn't really my thing, the update it has recently had seems a bit forced and I just didn't really get it. I am yet to try the food, but frankly would rather eat somewhere I feel has a better atmosphere. Eclectic mix of people - and very much an option for venue hire - but for casual drinking, give it a miss.


I love The Exhibits mix of areas and events. You can pop in for a quick cocktail, meet up with friends after work, watch a film or have a full on night out. Oh and the staff are great!!!


Amazing venue. great party areas for special occasions. Staff are super friendly and food and cocktails are top notch!


Great venue and amazing food which changes with excellent seasonal produce, and known farmers that produce the meat.


Excellent ambiance, very good food at a fair price. Nice place to be with friends.


Amazing place, can't wait to get back there, have recommended to so many friends

Tastemaker

I'm not a fan of the refurbishments that were made to the exhibit. On a quiet weekday night, it is night to sit around the bar old school, Tom Cruise cocktail style and enjoy a few drinks.


The food is now tapas style and a quirky variety of British, Spanish and Caribbean which I don't really 'get'. Some of the food is nice but more often it has been given much attention to - it will come out cold, or wrong.


There is no happy hour at the Exhibit and considering a range of bars in the area that have a happy hour, I'm not sure how long they can keep that up!


It has clearly turned into an events space, and oh by the way we have a bar venue. If you have specifically booked for an event, I'm sure you will have fun but just to pop down on a night out, there are better bars around the area where you can waste your money for double the alcohol. 


Brunch looks lovely with the open area and fun outside garden.


Great place, cant recommend highly enough! Private rooms are huge and with private bars in them plus the cinema is ace!


The Exhibit is fantastic. A determined, driven transformation over the last few months, the owners behind this project have turned this venue into something that has allurement and attractiveness. Excellent up and coming area with the aberrant shadows of the passers-by meeting and mingling with one another to try the marvellous drinks on offer. True to word, an aspiring and intelligent kitchen that produces top quality varying menu's for the growing urbane community. Expressive and passionate venue, love it.


Some fantastic creative food and drink concepts.... Espresso Martinis served with Smores and the Black Forrest Gateux cocktail served with meringue is simply to die for. The Tapas selection is well varied and made by some extremely talented chefs in the kitchen.


Beautiful Food, Amazing Atmosphere, Great Staff........Enough said really.....Cute garden & Roof Terrace too!


Even though it's probably best known for being a bar, the food is incredible and their cinema it's the best place in London to watch a movie. Loads going on all of the time and super friendly staff.

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