Balham Arms

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs Balham
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Balham Arms

A new pub with food, in the location that was formerly The Clarence.

Formerly called The Clarence, this pub on a busy main road was taken over by the Metropolitan Pub Company (of the Belle Vue and Alexandra in Clapham) in summer 2014. Its modern, shop parade interior has been decorated with vinyl album cover art and candles. The beer list too has been modernised, with both cask ales (Sambrook's, Greene King) and craft ales (London Fields) on tap.

What has not changed is that it’s a noisy pub: with the music cranked up on our evening visit, customers had to shout above the noise. This seems at odds with a kitchen that’s got gastropub ambitions. The small plates menu was perhaps a little too small, with £6.50 charged for two baby aubergines nicely grilled, the plate decorated with labneh and bright swirls of pomegranate.  Mutton was served with a salsa verde that could have used more caper bite, and the meat was remarkably pink and rare; this may have been a rare case of lamb dressed as mutton. Duck egg with girolles and salsify didn’t include the fermented garlic promised on the menu. Service, though friendly, was amateurish and slow. 

It should be noted that our visit was in the opening fortnight, and it seems likely glitches like this will be smoothed out as both kitchen and service become more practised.

By Guy Dimond 








Venue name: Balham Arms
Address: 90-92 Balham High Rd
SW12 9AG
Opening hours: Noon-midnight Mon-Thur; noon-2am Fri; 11-2am Sat; 11am-midnight Sun
Transport: Tube: Balham tube/rail
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £50
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