25% off Indian restaurant Balham Social in London
What do Indian restaurants [email protected], Chook Chook, Balham Social (these three owned by The SR Group) and Tashan all have in common? Chef and restaurateur Naveen Dogra, of course.
This up-and-coming entrepreneur boasts four outstandingly good eateries, with Tashan in Hampstead being rated an impressive 4.5/5 by FtLion, despite having opened only last month.
More importantly, each brand has its own uniqueness that sets it apart from the next, with Balham Social placing particular emphasis on dishes that are refined in nature.
Balham Social easily stands out from the crowd on Station Parade with a bright blue canopy, as well as a floral-inspired outdoor terrace, which makes this place the go-to destination on Balham High Road.
The blossom theme continues indoors too, with attractive floral arrangements creating a resplendent ambience.
With the alcohol bar situated towards the front of the premises, there’s plenty of convenient seating separately located at the far end of the restaurant.
With Imran Mansuri heading the kitchen – a chef who’s worked under Michelin heavyweights Atul Kochhar and Rohit Ghai, and at places as prestigious as Benares, Tamarind, and Jamavar – this restaurant has already received huge praise since opening earlier this year.
Mansuri has created a menu that’s just as sumptuous as the decor therein, with dishes that range from “age-old Indian street delicacies to more contemporary European grills”.
Operating as a relaxed cafe during the day, this talented chef has paid particular attention to the Small Plates section, with a strikingly diverse range of dishes.
These include a pair of colourfully conceived Chaats, namely the Chana and the Samosa, which meander across various flavour profiles and textures to leave the taste buds primed for what follows.
And what follows is a Dahi Sev Puri of daintily delicate puff puris, stuffed with spicy potatoes and some chutneys, that promise an explosion of flavours. This is followed by an aromatic Aloo Tikki that’s topped with potatoe crisps to ensure textural contrast.
These can be followed up with delicately soft Spicy Chicken Liver, that’s perfectly paired with pickled mushroom; and a portion of Kadai Wings, which are tossed with kadai spices to give them that spicious kick.
There’s then the following which you won’t readily find at your regular Indian joints – and this is where Balham Social really sets itself apart – like the instagrammable Grilled Octopus, with vivid colours that come courtesy of a titian tentacle, the tangerine-orange cubes of sweet potatoes, and juxtaposed with the verdant asparagus pieces.
Similarly, the Pan Seared Scallops will have your palate dancing, with mollusks that are expertly cooked before being paired with Rajma beans, a smooth and earthy cauliflower puree, and some tart pickle.
The Grilled Kebabs section is a must at Balham Social, with dishes like the plump grilled prawns with onion seeds Kalonji Jhing; Hariyal Stone Bass, that’s covered in a deliciously mellow marination; and Tandoori of Grilled Vegetables, comprising of lightly spiced cauliflower, gently pickled broccoli, and a beautifully soft and saturated cheese mushroom.
If you’re looking for something more familiar, then they also do some tried-and-tested succulent Lamb Chops, as well as utterly tender Malai Chicken Tikka, which the soothing aroma of cardamom coming through.
Their Main Course is the most traditional part of the menu, with curries and daals, such as their House Black Daal being slow-cooked to ensure deep flavour and smooth texture; or the silky smooth and creamy rich Butter Chicken, all of which can be enjoyed with a variety of tandoor naans.
As an establishment that “operates as an idyllic and relaxed cafe throughout the day”, Chef Mansuri has also created a weekend Brunch Menu that’s taken inspiration from both sides of the globe.
Take, for instance, their Grilled Salmon or Grilled Chicken. These combine the well-known spices of India with elements of British cuisine, in the form of a poached egg and brown bread, to offer a hearty plate of food.
And here’s your chance to enjoy an exceptionally good, fully Halal food menu, with FtLion having teamed up with Balham Social to offer readers 25% off their lunch menu from Tuesday to Thursday until 29 July 2021.
2 Station Parade, Balham High Rd, London SW12 9AZ.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00-22:00