Back in October, we reviewed the Gazette restaurant in Battersea. A lovely, comforting French brasserie serving delicious French classics. So I was delighted when I discovered they had opened an identical eatery, right on our door step in Balham.
It has been open since March and it hasn't taken the locals long to recognise this is abit of winner. It might be half the size of its sister in Battersea, but it certainly makes up for it in personality.
On Saturday night, Browny and I rolled up at 9pm to see if they had a spare table. We fancied some no nonsense French grub and cosy romantic environment, and we certainly got it. It had a lovely relaxed atmosphere, music burbling along in the back ground and the modest space has been fitted out in sympathetic and romantic style.
Having guzzled a bowl of young green olives we tucked into our starters. I always find very hard to resist Moules whenever I see them on a menu, and these were fantastic. Huge plump juicy mussels and a liquor busting with ummph and flavour. Browny decided he was in need of a protein fix and opted for the beef tar tar. It arrived on a slab of wood with all its trimmings including the compulsory cracked egg on top. It was fabulous. The meat (false fillet) was tender, fresh, tasty and very meaty.. the portion was also absolutely vast!
Then came along our belated bread basket. And unfortunately for me it was fresh out of the oven and smelt heavenly. I simply couldn't keep my paws out and for someone who isn't supposed to eat wheat, I should have known better!
My flaky, roasted fillet of cod was a delight. Cooked to perfection and complimented by a root veggie combo, it ticked every box for me. Browny went for piglet. Well, I say piglet, it was actually a mere rib of a piglet which as you can imagine, isn't very substantial! But none the less it was beautifully moist and tender.
A few cheeky bowls of sumptuous ice cream with a Madeline each polished off a cracking supper. Feeling thoroughly satisfied and verging on the stuffed boundary, we woddled home and flopped into bed.
The only criticism was from my big sister, who must be one of the toughest food critics I know. If she gives something praise... my God it must be sublime! On her recent visit to Gazette she wasn't very enthusiastic about her squid risotto... But Browny and I couldn't help think this was a somewhat odd choice in a French restaurant! But having since gone back for Sunday brunch, she has not got a bad word to say about the place.
Balham should count its lucky stars that such a super little restaurant has found its way over to SW12.
Browny here: But better still they've got Wifi and if you write a review and send it to their email address they give you a free drink! Now if that isn't good blogger relations I don't know what is!
Further good news is that they are mid revamp of their basement which will feature a private dining area for 10/12 and an amazing wine cave. Bravo.
We still love to go on trips around the UK, staying in BnBs or camping in search of a good meal or two - hence, Around Britain with a Paunch. Quite often the trips have been prompted by Diana Henry's Gastro Pub Cookbook. Here's where we've been to: