If there’s anyone in my circle of friends who is even more passionate about good food and coffee than I am, then undoubtedly this person is my former work colleague and very good friend Casey (who, by the way, recently started a wonderful blog with her husband Mike). She has been telling me about her favorite coffeeshop in Balham, Milk Café, a few times, as well as she has mentioned Tagine Balham, a Moroccan restaurant in the area, which she has been wanting to try for a while.
Luckily, at around the same time, Tagine contacted me and asked whether I would like to come in for dinner at some point. Obviously, I wanted, and obviously I took Casey with me for her long-awaited Moroccan feast at Tagine. The restaurant is open for dinner from Monday to Sunday as well as for lunch on the weekends. The menu features Moroccan classics: Delicious Mezze platters with all sorts of vegetable dips, hummus and olive tapenades, served with warm pita bread. Furthermore, the starters consist, among others, of grilled lamb kefta, aubergine compote or “Harira“, a Moroccan soup. I start to get hungry again just by thinking of it all!
As it can be assumed by the restaurant’s name, the main courses are mainly dishes made in a “tagine“: a pottery dish, filled with meat, fish and/or vegetables, spices and a sauce, which is then placed directly on a fire. A “tagine“ meal therefore is a one-pot meal, and it’s especially flavorsome because all of the ingredients are cooked together. I went for the fish tagine with various sorts of fish, potatoes and tomato sauce, while Casey had the lamb tagine with prunes and poached pear. There are many vegetarian options on the menu as well as there are huge colourful salads available.
We refrained from a dessert, but in case you are curious, the dessert choices consist of traditional Moroccan sweets as well as Moroccan takes on such popular sweet treats as crème brûlée and chocolate fondant.
Tagine Balham is a BYOB restaurant, so if you wanted to have a glass of wine with your meal make sure to bring a bottle along.
And if you happen to be a Balham “foreigner“ like me, I recommend you spend a few hours in the area. There’s a lovely little street named Hildreth Street with a delicatessen store, a Blackbird bakery branch, a bright red café called Brickwood Coffee & Bread, and on the end of the street there’s Milk Café, Casey’s previously mentioned favorite café. Milk is a spacious and bright café with table service, offering coffee, cakes, smoothies, breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. Sadly, we didn’t try any of the delicious appealing warm food, but had some granola which was not only delicious but is also served as pretty as can be in a beautiful ceramic bowl topped with edible flowers.
As always when exploring new districts, I’m impressed by the variety of wonderful places in London – and Balham surely made it to the list of places I want to return to (often) – especially now that Spring is on its way and the days are getting longer and warmer.
Photos 1, 3 and 4: Tagine Balham