The Avalon, 16 Balham Hill, London, SW12 9EB

Sooo, I said I’d never do a bad review as I’m only going to post about places that made me happy.  But I really wanted to love this place and it definitely has potential, so I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt.  Niki and I went last night for a post-Christmas debrief over red wine, so I also admit that I may have been more interested in the chat than the food. 

Niki got there super early (shock!) and commented on what a lovely place it is and how nice the staff were.  And it looks amazing – a large bar at the front and a dining room with art deco-style chandeliers and leather seats at the back – very 1920s.  The Avalon was formerly The George (giant sprawling rugby-type pub) and is the sister pub to The Stonhouse and The Abbeville – so these guys know their gastropubs.

We started with two very nice glasses of cab sauv, and they brought a large jug of tap water, so far so good.  The menu on the website looks amazing but wasn’t the one we were given which was slightly less interesting.  Niki started with cauliflower, chili and coconut soup which she said was lovely, and then had the grilled halloumi which looked a bit ordinary and was a little oily.  I started with the ham hock terrine which was rough and meaty and very good, and then had the fried haddock with potato, tomato and beetroot salad – the haddock was yummy but the salad was really dull – it basically consisted of slices of beetroot, tomato and potato without any sauce or seasoning, even I could have done it myself…

My other moans (oh dear, am I turning into a whingey food blogger?!) were:

  • No bread with the soup – surely bread comes with soup like chips come with ketchup, you don’t have to ask for it extra? 
  • It was empty – although it was a snowy Wednesday evening in the middle of “detox January” so weekends are likely to be busier.
  • We had different people bring out each course – it would have been nicer to have our lovely waitress deal with us all evening.
  • We paid £30 each for 2 courses and 2 glasses of wine – a bit much for pretty ordinary food (although like everyone else, its January and I’m skint, so may have hurt a little more than normal).

But I’m still posting about it, because I reckon it would be nice and full and lively at the weekend, and like the Stonhouse, I suspect it’s speciality is steaks and burgers (both of which I would definitely be first to order, if I wasn’t on this pesky post-Christmas diet thingie), and perhaps also Sunday roasts.  I’ll certainly go back and try these, probably for a Sunday late lazy lunch.

UPDATE: Niki thinks I have been a little unfair and that the place, and the meal, was a lot better than I have made it sound.  And she also asserts that she never wanted bread with her soup.  So there.
The Avalon on Urbanspoon

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