THE PLACE: H Street Deli, Balham
Cute neighbourhood hangout H Street Deli serves delicious, sunshine food inspired by Spain and Italy in a warm, eclectic setting just up the road from Balham station. A trusted foodie friend recommended it for brunch and told us that it was “all about the eggs”. Here’s why we agree that they’ve cracked it…
If there’s one thing you associate with Mediterranean-style dining it’s a warm and friendly welcome and H Street Deli is no different. Ours began before we even turned up as, when booking and requesting two highchairs, we discovered that they purposefully went out and bought a second to be able to accommodate us (as they’d recently been left with just one after the other broke). How many places do you know that would do that?
The great service continued from there. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for us or any of the other diners. A bowl of water was delivered to a thirsty pup, I was shown a spot to park the buggy, and charming manager Djordje rarely walked past our table without a smile or a hello to the babies who both seemed besotted with him. This explains why we came across so many other parents with tiny, coddled newborns in situ on a nice, buzzy Thursday lunchtime. Well, that and the fact that the coffee is bang on, the eye-catching cakes are from a local baker and prices are so darn reasonable.
Our chosen dishes of Rancheros (a hearty tomato-based stew of black beans, smoky chorizo and baked eggs, similar to a shakshuka) and Chicken and Avocado with poached eggs both hit the mark. Flavours were fresh and portions were generous. I’m sure if I’d asked for another slice of toasted sourdough to mop up the remains of the stew, they would have happily brought me one. But I needed space for one of those cakes.
Extra Mama Edit bonus points are given for the fact that, despite being busy, no one attempted to rush us off or made us feel like we were outstaying our welcome when Emilia and Theo came good on some pact they’d clearly made during their individual brunch time kick-offs and promptly fell asleep on us as we were ordering said cake. In fact, showing consideration for the napping pair, they simply let us be unless we caught their eye to request something.
Unfortunately, H Street Deli is yet to get baby change facilities so if you're there for any length of time, or the bub simply decides to have an impeccably timed explosion, you'll be wrestling with them atop two chairs downstairs. Not ideal, but because everything else was so good it wouldn't put us off returning. If they can get this sorted we're sure the mama-fanbase would grow even quicker.
Brunch for two with coffee and service is around £30 which is very competitive in comparison with a lot of the trendy brunch spots out there.
Make sure you take the time to peruse the shelves bursting with jars of delectables like posh pesto, gourmet crisps and prettily presented pâté that are great for your kitchen cabinet or as cute gourmet gifts.
You’re also guaranteed to find yourself making some space in your cupboards for a couple of the pieces of authentic Moroccan crockery that you try to resist but can’t as these are some of the nicest we’ve seen - ideal for brightening up any at-home lunch a la kitchen table.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
Be it breakfast or brunch, pastries or lunch, cute neighbourhood hangout H Street puts the “deli” into “delicious”.
Mon- Fri 8am-7pm
For more information visit H Street Deli’s Facebook page
H Street Deli, 2 Hildreth Street, SW12 9RQ