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Lambert’s in Balham

June 19, 2011

When I was informed that the last meal of our trip would be at a local restaurant in the nearby town of Balham, I really gave it little thought. Honestly I just hoped for the best considering we had already had some interesting (to put it kindly) meals on this journey. The restaurant is Lamberts, and it happens to be a favorite of the friends we were staying with. This caused me to lean on the optimistic side, and I prayed that the food would be fantastic, or at least partly fantastic. Even a little bit fantastic, as these people know their food.

One of their dear friends, Jim Eustace of Haynes,Hanson & Clark ,was responsible for the wine pairings to accompany this seasonal dinner, appropriately called “First taste of Summer.”

The dinner was truly an unforgettable experience from start to finish. I didn’t even mind that all the wines paired with the meal were white wines, though my partner was really longing for a bold red (as he usually is). I thought each worked really well with each course and was pleased to try some new deliciously complex wines. I can honestly say it was the best meal of my visit to London (with Ed’s grilled steak and stellar bacon-potato salad coming in at a close second).

Though I thought each course was seamlessly executed,(meaning: full of flavor, temperature appropriate and smartly plated) I’m somehow partial to the second course of Crab ravioli with Tomato consomme. As well, the simply brilliant dessert course of Fresh berries 3-ways has still stayed with me since.

After our meal, we were so moved by the food we asked if we might go into the kitchen to thank the Chef Ryan Lowery and his talented team. I’ve seen some small restaurant kitchens in my time, but this one really takes the cake for being the tiniest (think: walk in closet). From what I remember, there were 3 people in total (The Chef and 2 other cooks) working in the kitchen that night. You just have to admire the perfect execution from a very small team, in a tiny kitchen serving this beautiful four-course meal for probably about 50 people. The team was young, talented and very humble. You could easily tell they are passionate about their work and seemed to appreciate the fact that we had come back into the kitchen to thank them. That is just how good the food was. Simple, fresh and uncomplicated. Balham is fortunate to have Lamberts and I’m ever so thankful for the dining experience there.

Secrett’s Farm Asparagus, Hollandaise, Keen’s Cheddar crisp
paired with Chenin Blanc Franschhoek Cellar 2010

2nd Course

Crab Ravioli, Heritage Tomato Consomme, Basil
paired with Gavi Massera, Stefano Massone 2010

3rd Course

Dorset Char, Jersey Royal crush, Peas, Broad Beans, Citrus butter sauce
paired with Viognier, Domaine Gayda,Pays d’Oc 2010 and
Macon-Chardonnay,Domaine Talmard 2009

4th Course

Iced Raspberry Nougat, Summer Pudding, Raspberry sorbet
paired with Lunatico Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Frizzante 2010

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