Balham brasserie Harrison’s has been a neighbourhood favourite, impressing the locals since owner Sam Harrison — who also owns the popular Sam’s Brasserie in Chiswick — opened its doors on Bedford Hill in 2008.
Inside, the 90-seat restaurant was treated to a fresh new look last year. The stylish surroundings look cool while remaining comfortable. Taking centre stage is the large open kitchen, where you can watch the team of chefs prepare your food.
There used to be a bar running parallel to the window but this has been relocated downstairs and given a New York-style makeover. We enjoyed contemporary cocktails ‘Downstairs at Harrison’s’ before heading up to our table.
The menu has a good selection of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes, and the wine list is excellent. Sam has hand picked a vast selection of good value wines and champagne.
Soaking up the atmosphere on the Wednesday night we visited Harrison’s, I noticed a row of several impressive looking burgers coming out of the kitchen. It nearly swayed my decision about what to order but (for once) I’d already made my mind up.
First we shared a bowl of Padrón peppers, relieved to find no super spicy ones in our selection, before moving on to the starters. Salt and pepper squid with garlic aioli was crunchy, tangy and superb, while my friend enjoyed her creamy prawn cocktail, with gribiche and Marie Rose sauce. I’m keen to return to try the macaroni cheese and smoked bacon fritters with mustard mayo too.
On to the mains, I got stuck into a generous portion of steamed Shetland mussels, in a moreish white wine, cream and garlic sauce that came with devilishly good skinny fries (perfect for dipping into the sauce). My friend described her Nashville hot chicken with celeriac and apple slaw as ‘classic comfort food’.
Desserts were great too. We greedily devoured a glazed spiced pear, with caramel sauce and salted caramel ice cream, as well as a rhubarb and apple crumble with vanilla custard (£6 each).
On the whole we had a great time — the service was excellent as was the quality of the food we sampled. And I’ve since been back to give the Cheeseburger a go, which oozed excellence. Although, on the return visit we weren’t so lucky with the Padrón peppers…
15-19 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9EX; 020 8675 6900; harrisonsbalham.co.uk