This issue, the Eel’s Matt Atkinson has ventured to south London. Balham has attracted our attention because it harbours several havens for ethical food-lovers, all within a casual amble of one another. This summer it also hosted a food festival, and the new Hildreth Street Market, which featured several of the Eel’s favourite producers such as Ms Cupcake’s vegan treats (keep an ear out for more market dates). A quick jaunt down the Northern Line will take you to the midst of all of this...
Food retailer: Chadwick’s Butchers (1)
Balham High Road, SW12 9AP
With Chadwick’s a member of the Q Guild of Butchers, Balham is lucky to boast one of the top quality butcher’s shops in the country, selling quality Tradition is at the heart of what they do here, which means protecting the countryside, farming heritage and supporting sustainable farming. Lovely bacon too.
Café/Patisserie: Des Lys (2)
8 Bedford Hill, SW12 9RG
Balham has done better than most at holding on to some independent coffee shops like Des Lys. Owned by a French couple (pronunciation is more Deh-LEES than Dez-LIZ ) who make their own pastries.
Café: Negril Juice Bar and Café (3)
9 Hildreth St, SW12 9RQ
Sister to the popular joint of the same name in Brixton, they go far beyond the regular fare and include such libations as ‘Roots Juice’ (beetroot, carrot, ginger, pear and lemon). In line with the Rastafarian ‘ital’ ethos (natural and healthy way of life), all fruit and veg are organic and much of the menu is vegan.
Deli and Restaurant: The Fat Delicatessen (4)
7 Chestnut Grove, SW12 8JA
Not just an emporium of fine foods, the Fat Delicatessen serves particularly good tapas-style food with a seasonal focus in a restaurant area at the far end of the shop.
Market: Balham Farmers’ Market (5)
Chestnut Grove School SW12 8JZ
This recent addition to the London Farmers’ Markets stable is every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. You know what to expect...or you should.
Restaurant: Lamberts (6)
2 Station Parade, Balham High Road SW12 9AZ
Passionate about seasonal produce and buying from small local suppliers, many of them organic. On a Saturday lunch time you can work your way through three courses for £20.
Stockist: Trinity Stores (7)
5-6 Balham Station Road SW12 9SG
On top of such delights as black pudding scotch eggs and artisan bread from Paul Rhodes, you can pick up this very magazine here. But you may already know that as you sit reading this article at one of their tables...and if you don’t, get down there. I really can’t recommend the scotch eggs enough!
Grocery: As Nature Intended (8)
186-188 Balham High Road SW12 9BP
A shop that looks a lot like a regular supermarket, but all organic. Interesting varieties of apples such as Ceeval and Russets.
Pub: The Avalon (9)
16 Balham Hill, SW12 9EB
Don’t let the elegance of this swanky gastropub distract you from their achievements with the menu. Part of the Renaissance group, which is setting good standards for serving free-range meat, owners, chefs and managers are even involved in the upkeep of animals at Locks Drove Farm in Hampshire. They keep good beer too.
Growing space: Hyde Farm Community Garden (10)
St. Thomas Church Hall, Radbourne Road, SW12 0EE
This Capital Growth-registered growing space holds regular events like cooking food outdoors, juicing fruit and milling wheat, and may sell you some surplus produce if there’s any going.