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.
16 Balham Hill
|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|
|Do you own this business?|