15-19 Bedford Hill
The thing that Harrison's has heaps of, is buzz. We visited on a mid-week evening to find the restaurant clamouring with diners, and not a shred of tumbleweed in sight. If you head this way on a first date, those awkward silences will be mopped up by the sound of waiters rushing around, the hum of good-natured chatter, and the chinking of a good few cocktail glasses.
We started off our mid-week visit with a watermelon mocktail for the designated driver, and a mojito for the lucky passenger. The menu at Harrison's has been designed in conjunction with Rick Stein (also an investment partner for the restaurant), and is overseen by Head Chef, Dan Edwards (formerly of Launceston Place). We ate from the Brasserie menu which leans heavily on British and European influences, with the odd culinary injection from further flung corners of the globe.
Our starters of charcuterie with fresh figs & honey, and a clutch of Maldon rock oysters set the tone with their fresh taste. The air-conditioning also went some way towards freshening us up, but at a rather cool setting we opted for some hearty fare in the shape of our main course. Rib-eye steak it was then, with a bucket of fries and a dollop of Béarnaise, as well as the roast chicken. Oh the roast chicken. Order it, order it, order it – that's all I can say (apart from that it was free range, delicious - the best I've tasted in some time - served with mash, creamed leeks, wild mushrooms and truffle oil. A beautifully presented dish and wonderful to taste, with every ingredient working with its partner as it should. The rib-eye looked the part too, arriving on its own grand slab of a chopping board and looking almost as beefy as Schwarzenegger.
Our puddings of raspberry & vanilla crème brulee, and coffee with truffles, rounded off a perfectly great meal. The truffles by the way are very worth ordering. Needless to say, when we returned a few weeks later for a friend's 30th birthday, they were ordered again (in bulk) to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth impressively well. The waiters were brilliant on this second visit too, dealing with our general tardiness (the birthday couple arrived 90 minutes late), with a much needed sense of humour. Alberto (our waiter on both occasions), should probably be in the running for a medal, for dealing with our never-ending questions about the brunch menu and our general state of disarray! Points were also scored at Harrison's for the baked eggs rancheros featured on the brunch menu, which our entire table ordered and loved, plus the rare fact that we were offered table water when we requested water all-round. If you're after good food, a really great atmosphere and staff that won't raise an eyebrow when you ask for a fourth plate of truffles, head over to Balham and get booked in at Harrison's. **
**Harrison's: **15-19 Bedford Hill, London SW12 9EX. Tel: 020 8675 6900.
For more information, visit: http://www.harrisonsbalham.co.uk
**Reviewer:** Helenka Bednar