Friday, 1 May 2015


As much as I love to explore bars and restaurants all over London, it's also pretty convenient when you know you have something half decent a stones throw from your front door. One of the things I love about Balham is its total abundance of places to eat and/or drink; a lot of which are unique to the area. There's something for everyone and every mood and, considering I was combating a raging hangover, the new branch of Haché seemed like a good destination.

Famed primarily for it's burgers, Haché actually manages to appeal to the likes of myself (who can be fussy with meat) and my housemate (who is a total meat-dodging veggie). Anyone living in Balham would probably have spotted the advertisements which have been put on the wall alongside the escalators. By the time you get to the top, you've pretty much booked yourself in for a table that night. Located on Bedford Hill, it's centrality makes it an easy get to for almost anyone in the area.

With only three salad options, the menu is strictly reserved for the hardcore burger fan. With a range of traditional steak burgers, they also have lamb, chicken, pork and even a duck burger. Vegetarians need not despair though! Gone are the days of dried out old bean patties. Haché offer two variants of a falafel burger, and a goats cheese with portobello mushroom option too.

Food can either make or break a hangover. In this case, our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs but we were too fragile to care. We ordered a few sides; grilled halloumi, sweet potato fries, and onion rings.

Now, in my opinion, you can't go too wrong with any of these. Sweet potato fries are always a winner in my eyes and a much more appealing alternative to regular fries. The onion rings weren't great... it was more batter, less onion in this case. The halloumi was exactly as you'd expect it to be! Salty and rubbery but weirdly awesome. Although at £5.95, a massive waste of money for what we actually got!

Obviously Haché is all about the burgers. On any other day, I may have been strict and gone for one of the salads. But today was not one of those days. I went for the Steak Mexican. A medium cooked steak burger with Cajun spices, salsa, guacamole, jalapéno peppers and sour cream all served up in a ciabatta bun. 

I have to admit, I was expecting them to make more of the presentation. Ultimately, this was served up as plain burger with a few dips. But then I guess you're going to put it all together in some way anyway so it doesn't really make too much difference. I know a few burger connoisseurs who have raved about the burgers here. I have to say I actually found this a little dry. The Cajun spices had been incorporated into the meat which gave it a really nice smokey flavour but it didn't disguise the texture itself. Having the condiments definitely helped but, if you're going to a burger restaurant, it's the burger itself that you expect to be good. 

My veggie companion went for the Falafel Blue Cheese burger which was exactly what it says it would be (falafel topped with blue cheese, in case there was any confusion). 

It's not often I get food envy, purely because I'm the Queen of picking the best menu option. But, it has to be said, I was jealous. It was served up to look a lot more appealing than mine at the very least. Having said that, the blue cheese and dense falafel combination made it incredibly rich. The brioche bun got totally ignored. In this case, the veggie wins (I blame the hangover for my clouded judgement of my own choice).

An indulgent meal wouldn't be complete without a totally unnecessary desert. There was nothing more appropriate for this occasion than a homemade banoffee pie the size of your head. This isn't my usual cup of tea but the menu described it as not for the faint-hearted. I felt like I was being challenged and I wasn't willing to back down, goddammit!

As banoffee pies go, this one was definitely up with the best of them. You could tell it had been freshly made that day (the open-view kitchen proved it) and, had I not been so full, I'm sure I would've enjoyed it a lot more than I actually did! Yet another case of going too far...

With the average price of the burgers being around £10, you'd be looking at spending in the region of £18 once you include sides and drinks. Haché is a definite step up from the typical burger chains so, for that reason alone, I'd say it was generally good value. Just don't go for the halloumi!


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