Tel: 020 8682 3553
Locale Balham is one of a chain of five Italian restaurants around London, the Balham restaurant, on the corner of Balham High Road and Ritherdon Road has a modern but comfortable feel with well spaced tables. You enter through the bar area, which has some good, lounge style seating, ideal for pre-dinner drinks.
At our table, we ordered a carafe of Pinot Grigio to drink while we chose our meal and to go with starters. We also decided nibble on some good, freshly baked focaccia with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar in advance of starters. Starters then arrived and we shared the Salumi Misti, a mixed platter of cured meats, fennel and sundried tomato and focaccia, all full flavoured and tasty. We also shared a dish of Gamberoni, pan fried king prawns, that were cooked well, fresh flavoured and nicely enhanced by the sauce of butter, olive oil, garlic, chilli and herbs, it was as well that we still had some of the focaccia to soak up the lovely juices.
As a main, the cod wrapped in Parma ham was a sizable hunk of fish that had been perfectly cooked, protected and flavoured in the process by the ham, which gave it a subtle seasoning. It was well supported by the sauté savoy cabbage with pancetta and garlic. The char grilled mixed sea food platter was a substantial dish, good sized fillets of sea bass and salmon, each well cooked, lightly seasoned and tasting as they should. The king prawn was another tasty, meaty little crustacean and the calamari, was cooked so that it had some bite but was still tender, if I had a criticism, it would be that there was rather a lot of calamari, I just couldn’t finish it. Salad leaves and wild rice were good accompaniments to the mixed platter. We had sides of deep fried courgette – which was a good mix of crisp coating and the soft julienne courgette and the roasted new potatoes, that had a nice flavour.
For dessert, the Affogato, a rich, cinnamon Ice cream, served with shots of Frangelico and hot espresso to pour to over it. It delivers a great contrast between the warm alcohol and coffee liquid and the cold ice cream, the ice cream and Frangelico also sweetening the strong coffee. The Cassata was presented as two tranches, the pistachio flavoured ice cream shell coating a tutti frutti softer centre that had lots of crystallised fruit bits in it. Both desserts were good and light, perfect to finish off what was a substantial meal.
Service at Locale was excellent – we were very well looked after. The wine list is, as you might imagine, largely Italian, the Pinot Grigio came in at £10.50 for the carafe, the Sangiovese with our mains was £9.50, as is the house white – a Chardonnay (my bete noire). House wines are priced at £12.95 a bottle. We enjoyed the meal and the experience at Locale, it is a good local restaurant, as the name suggests.