Foxlow, Balham

I had a relatively late introduction to Foxlow, despite numerous recommendations. The less carnivorous and more laid back sister restaurant from the Hawksmoor group, Foxlow is about seasonal British food in a casual neighbourhood dining setting.

Our first impression of the Balham branch is how spacious and bright it was from the inside. Wooden tables, leather chairs, part-tile and part-wood flooring create a clean, functional and aesthetically pleasing look.

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Interiors

We visited on a busy Saturday night and the place was slowly but surely getting full with families, couples and groups.

I opted for the set menu as most of the things that appealed to me were on that list. At £25 for two courses + a house drink + a glass of the house wine, I thought it was fairly good value for money too.

The house cocktail was a St. John – gin, lemon, plum eau de vie. It was a pleasant and light aperitif – very summery and citrusy. Mr. K went for the Renardier (Cognac, Campari, £8)  from the ‘Bold and Strong’ section. True to its category, this one was perfect for Mr. K – mature, powerful and delicious.

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Renardier (L); St. John (R)

For my starter, I opted for the Five Pepper Brixham Squid with Devilled Mayonnaise. The squid was lightly dusted, which is how I prefer. Compared to some of the overly fried versions I come across regularly, this was near perfect in terms of soft crunch outside and fresh squid inside. The tangy and spicy mayo was a perfect partner to the crispy squid.

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Five Pepper Brixham Crab

Other starters included a sublime Heritage Beetroot Salad with a yoghurt and poppy seed dressing (£6). The beauty of this dish relies on the freshness and quality of its ingredients and in both cases, it does not disappoint. The kale leaves added a vibrant green to the strawberry pink of the beetroot served on a layer of that delicious dressing.

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Heritage Beetroot Salad

The choices for the mains were slightly on the tried and tested side. I had the Roast chicken. Having been out lately on a lot of adventurous dinners with lots of experimentation, I was craving the simplicity of a roast chicken dinner. Refinement came in terms of pearl barley risotto and purple sprouting broccoli. This was my first time trying pearl barley and boy, am I a convert! It was a beautiful combination of soothing and creamy, buttery rich pearl barley, moist and crisp chicken and crunchy, slightly al-dente greens – the perfect trio.

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Roast chicken

Mr. K had the Flat Iron Steak (£14), which came with fries. This is where the Hawksmoor connection became evident as the quality of the meat was par excellence. It was a perfectly cooked steak; blistered on the outside and ruby-red, juicy meat on the inside.

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Flat Iron Steak

We also ordered a side of Mac-n-Cheese which was piping hot, gooey and indulgent. Although meant to be shared, Mr. K unashamedly polished off the majority of it!

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Mac-n-Cheese

A little point about the service that evening – slow and scattered. Our food arrived before the drinks in spite of a number of prompts. Thankfully, it was duly acknowledged and profusely apologised for. They also took the drinks off the bill which was hugely appreciated. Here’s hoping this was a one-off experience.

The evening ended with a jaunt to their underground speakeasy bar called The Owl – a real discovery with some good looking cocktails and relaxed, intimate, lounge vibes.

All in all, our evening was very enjoyable barring a few kinks in the service. There is some top quality cooking here at pocket-friendly prices.

More information on Foxlow can be found here.

More information on The Owl can be found here.

N.B. All photos used in this blog post are my own. I review anonymously and pay for my meals.

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