Tonight we had the pleasure of being invited along to Balham’s The Honest Italian, a small restaurant specialising in ‘Instagram friendly’ pizzas. Expectations were high of the meal as TripAdvisor reviews were excellent, and we can now say that our expectations were not matched. But surpassed.
From the outside, we were struck by how dark the decor was, matched by the dimly lit interior. For some restaurants this really works, but an interesting choice considering their importance of being ‘Instagram friendly.’ We all know that bright natural light makes for the best Insta pics.
We have to say we received less than a warm welcome – after I introduced ourselves I was barely given a chance to finish my sentence before I was met with an “oh sure,” and point towards our table.
However, from there on, the service was excellent throughout, and our waiter was very attentive and friendly.
We both opted for a small glass of house white. Neither of us are hardly wine connoisseurs so we can’t tell you what it was, but personally it was the best wine I have ever had. The flavours weren’t overpowering over the rest of the meal and it was generally easy to drink.
After having our order taken, the starters arrived within minutes, as did our second and third course. Fast service was definitely a stand out point from the evening, and we weren’t the only ones to be treated to this. Comments of “oh that was quick” were overheard from neighbouring tables, and due to this, two tables who came in after us, were also gone long before us.
Maybe the two people who came in for a takeaway whilst we were there knew this. Again, served within moments.
Lasagna al forno – layered sheets of pasta with our homemade slow cooked meat ragu sauce, with red wine and onions,topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese – £8.95 – Jessica
In this case, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the food might not be fresh. You’d be wrong. The starters of classic bruschetta and garlic bread had a slight crunch on the outside, and discussions were had if we’d ever had softer bread in the middle. Both were buttery and strongly flavoured, made even better by the chilli oil that was on the table throughout. It gave it an extra dimension and strong kick, just as we like it.
Again, our mains were served extremely quickly. I chose the Pizza al Pollo, a fairly simple pizza and although it was faultless, I wish I’d been a bit more experimental in the end. The thing was, I wanted one with meat which other than Italian meats, left me with only a few options. The base was thin and crispy, but by no means dry, but also by no means difficult to handle. It was cooked to perfection.
Pizza al pollo – smoked chicken, tomato sauce, fior di latte mozzarella, dolcelatte and red onions – £12.50 – James
The lasagne used classic ingredients, but the cooking red wine took it to the next level, filled with enough cheese to not need to be offered extra Parmesan. We’re not sure if they purposely didn’t offer, but it wasn’t at all missed.
By the the time our main had been finished, we were left feeling suitably full. But after being tantilised by the blackboard display of desserts, we we were also left wanting more. After having to ask for the dessert menu, I opted for the chocolate brownie, a mix of dark and milk chocolate, soft and sumptuous flavours. The Italian ice cream that went alongside was perfect!
Jessica’s Banoffee pie resembled more of a cheesecake, but that was no problem and it was a great way to end a fantastic first experience at The Honest Italian.
Whether you are ordering in from Deliveroo, popping in for a takeaway or having a three course dinner like ourselves, you are guaranteed fast service, quality food, and relaxing atmosphere here. Their impressive array of awards displayed near the door are testament to that.
Do check them out on social media (details below), and if you are in the area fancying something honestly Italian, this is of course where you should be heading towards.
Customer service: ★★★★
Phone: 0208 772 0636
13, Station Parade
Balham High Road
Nearest station: Balham (Northern line)
*We were in invited as guest to review, meals and drinks were complimentary but all views are our own