H Street Deli

Restaurants, Mediterranean Balham
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An Iberian-leaning café-cum-deli on Hildreth Street.

Breakfast and brunch. Pastries and lunch. Adorable crockery, all for sale. Jars of posh pesto, giant packs of gourmet crisps. Tea, coffee, beer, wine by the glass. This Iberian-leaning café-cum-deli may be teeny, but man, it packs a lot in. During the week, people come for homemade soup, seasonal salads and sourdough sarnies (from £4.95 to take away). They also come for cakes, made by a local baker, many of which are gluten-free (try the moist and zesty almond and bitter lime).

Everything else is cooked in-house, and much of it is very good. Brunch revolves around eggs: poached, scrambled or fried. The jamon Iberico florentine was an upmarket twist on the breakfast classic. A soft Scotch mist roll stood in place of the usual English muffin, each of its two toasted halves topped with a runny-middled poached egg, a generous heap of wilted spinach and folds of the cured Spanish ham. Finally, an excellent hollandaise sauce. Big tick.

Even better was the salmon and asparagus: a fat heap of buttery scrambled eggs (the menu advertises poached but staff will offer you either) plus lashings of smoked salmon and a few charred asparagus spears on another of those rolls. More excellent hollandaise. Double tick.

One word of warning though: stay clear of the ‘Latin’ dishes: the stew (they call it a ‘soup’) of black beans in a plate of so-called rancheros was unpleasantly acidic, as was a too-small pot of guacamole. Such a pity.

But what makes H Street Deli special is the young team’s commitment to hospitality. Nothing was too much trouble. One waiter took a bowl of water out to a thirsty pup. The other fussed over younger diners (a refreshing change to the no-kids vibe of some local brunch spots). Service with a smile? I’ll take seconds.

By: Tania Ballantine


Venue name: H Street Deli
Address: 2 Hildreth St
Transport: Tube: Balham
Price: Brunch for two with coffee and service: around £30.
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 Hildreth Street might as well be renamed Brunch Row, as on a Saturday and Sunday morning, you can hardly move down this little street for the throngs of hungry Balhamites queuing for brunch stalwarts- M1lk and Brickwood. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret- further down the street, there is a place where you can walk straight in for a table and that provides the most delicious Turkish inspired breakfast.

H Street Deli offers fresh, zingy juices alongside freshly baked pastries and classic brunch dishes with a Mediterranean twist. I had perfectly poached eggs on sourdough, with salty, thick jamon and tzatziki- an unusual combination but one I was delighted by. The tzatziki was powerful and garlicky (maybe not the one if on a date) and was incredible with the jamon.

The deli also has a very tempting range of homebaked goods on show- so tempting I couldn’t resist but take a pistachio and rose polenta cake away with me which was moist, light and delicious.

The décor reflects its Turkish inspiration, with gorgeous crockery, stunning tiles and big baskets hanging from the ceiling. My first experience was a great one, and I already can’t wait to return to try their lunch and dinner offerings.