2 Bellevue Rd., Balham
It's a bit out of town, but chef-owner Bruce Poole maintains a loyal following who make the trek for good reason. The dining room is simple and sophisticated and the modern British food, heavily influenced by French and Mediterranean cuisines, is fantastic. Eschewing many modern kitchen technologies for more traditional methods (you'll find a lot of braising, roasting and crème brûlée-ing) the set menu does not disappoint and while £49.50 for three courses is not cheap, we think it's one of the best values in London for what you get. P.S. It's totally worth springing the extra £6 supplement for the cheese board, something they do incredibly well here.
20 Bedford Hill, Balham
This all-day café is as off-the-beaten path as you get on the London food scene, and so worth it. And don't let the line out the door stop you: The Aussie couple behind this spot don't take reservations and also happen to make one of the best breakfasts in town. In fact, so popular is M1lk that they had to double in size this year. Their brunch menu is tight and features delightfully laden dishes like The Sweet Maria, a sweetcorn fritter and halloumi extravaganza, or the equally popular Convict, an English muffin topped with sausage, bacon, egg, and hash browns. The coffee is pretty excellent, too. Dinner might be on the horizon as well: They've started to host a series of "lates" at the restaurant, recruiting chefs and cooks from near and far to come play.
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