“A real find in darkest Balham” – this “brilliant” neighbourhood spot draws scores of fans from neighbouring postcodes with its “intimate” style, “friendly and unhurried” service and “consistently excellent” cooking… and all at “outstanding-value” prices too.
Service -Exceptional, Food – Exceptional, Atmosphere – Very Good
The highest rating you can have and shared with only 33 other places in the UK! ’
Hardens Restaurant Guide 2013
Much-loved Balham favourite Lamberts never fails to please. It’s the kind of place every neighbourhood should have, ticking all the right boxes: seasonal cooking, frequently changing menus, great wine list and top-quality sourcing. Sustainably sourced fish come from local supplier Murray’s Fresh Fish, game from the Denham Estate, vegetables from Secretts farm in Surrey, and rare-breed lamb, beef and pork from Richard Vaughan’s Huntsham Court Farm in Herefordshire.
The restaurant looks the part too, the shopfront dining room done up in shades of taupe and caramel, with colourful canvases by local artists on the walls. Add knowledgeable, alert service, plus attractive prices, and you’ve got a winner.
An early spring dinner menu might feature such of-the-minute ingredients as purple sprouting broccoli with duck egg and sweet mustard dressing; black bream with Jersey Royal potatoes and chicory; or a pudding of blood-orange cheesecake with honeycomb. Sunday lunch is a hit with locals, offering the likes of rare-roasted rib of Angus beef with yorkshire pudding, roast parsnips and potatoes, and horseradish, or a simple-but-sensational chargrilled chicken with baby gem lettuce, peas and lemony mayonnaise.”
Time Out 2013
The sparely functional but smart south London eatery a minute or two from Balham tube station may look like many another compact urban brasserie with its exposed floorboards, serried ranks of tables and bland coffee colour scheme, but a beating heart of gastronomic passion drives the place. Ryan Lowery is as conscientious about conservation and quality as if he were cooking in a country pub in Wiltshire, sourcing organic and ethically produced materials from family smallholdings, and keeping a weather eye on the changing seasons. A lovage dressing fragrantly garnishes a starter of smoked mackerel with potato and anchovy salad, while a gastro-salad of pear, toasted walnuts, Devon’s Harbourne Blue goats’ cheese and watercress offers refreshment to an old bistro classic. Mains are built from apposite accumulations of ingredients, adding haricots, cavolo nero and artichoke crisps to hake and mussels, or parsnip and sprouting broccoli to a Herdwick lamb duo of rump and shoulder, the latter enthroned on a pastry shell. Celebrate the tang of the season’s first rhubarb in an upside-down cake with vanilla custard.
AA Restaurant Guide 2013
‘“A budget alternative to Chez Bruce!” – this “relaxed” Balham local gives its stellar (and more ambitious) rival a respectable “run for its money”, with “impressive”, “well thought out” cuisine, “personal” service, and “ludicrously good-value prices”.
Service -1, Food – 1, Atmosphere – 2
Highest rating in London with only 14 others.
Rated 3rd Overall for British over £45 per head.
1st Ledbury, 2nd Chez Bruce, 3rd Lamberts. ’
Hardens London Restaurant Guide 2012
‘This strip of road is, frankly, unprepossessing, but Lamberts is one of the best upscale local restaurants in London. The long room is restrained and unflashy, painted a muted yellow, with a velvet banquette taking up most of one side. Well-placed diner-style tables are set off by dainty flowers, and easeful art lines the walls. Staff are smart, smooth and unfussy; a wooden platter of own-made bread with seasoned butter and a bottle of filtered water are slipped on to the table as soon as you’re seated.
Cooking is inventive and assured. Our starters were vibrant: cold carrot soup with pickled carrots and three bobbing islets of delicious walnut mousse, and exquisite peach and tomato salad with pine nut and sherry dressing. Just as good were mains of fallow deer with puy lentils and roasted violet artichokes, and rare-breed steak with fat chips and a salad of slow-roasted tomatoes.
Save room for the exquisite desserts. We enjoyed both our choices: crème fraîche and elderflower tart with a scoop of excellent strawberry sherbet, and a creamy peach parfait with caramelised roast peaches and rapeseed and thyme sable. The extensive drinks list offers a useful range of wines by the glass or carafe, as well as a thoughtful selection of whiskies.’
Time Out Eating and Drinking Guide 2012
‘Lamberts…is close to perfection. There’s no fuss, no ostentation. Everything was quiet and understated. The walls are taupe, the banquettes made of soft brown velvet. The staff were efficient and entirely in tune with the diners — nothing escaped their attention, nothing was too much trouble. The prices, as with the cooking, are perfectly judged. On a Sunday, a credit crunch-defying £20 gets you two courses; £24 brings three. The children can have a mini-roast for £4.50 or choose from their own menu. As with the adults’ fare, it’s all excellent quality, seasonal and British-sourced.’
Chris Blackhurst – Evening Standard
‘Over a very superior lemon posset pie, a plate of Neal’s Yard cheeses (notably the Strathdon Blue) and final glasses of Muscat and white Bel-Air Bordeaux, we agreed that Lamberts was a discovery, a diamond in the rough, a pilot-light of classy cooking in the wastes of Balham High Road, and that Chez Bruce does indeed have a south London rival snapping at its heels. Next day, I looked at the Hardens guide again. In the list of the London foodies’ favourite restaurants under £45 a head, Lamberts came second. How enraging to find that one’s newest discovery has been well and truly discovered…….’
John Walsh – Independent
‘We had another excellent lunch here at Lamberts mid April. You can’t beat the value – two courses are only £17 and three courses £20.
For the quality of the ingredients, the size of the portions and the top notch service, Lamberts is a head above many of the better known quality London restaurants.’
London Restaurant Review
‘I’ve seen this place and been curious about it for ages. Finally my curiosity caught up with me and a table for … ’
The Little Welsh Eats the Big World
‘Clapham Common has its Trinity, East Dulwich its Franklins, New Cross its Chicken Cottage. Local restaurants… ’
Cheese and Biscuits
‘“Stunning value” wins acclaim for this Balham “gem”, which offers an “interesting, seasonally-changing menu” and “professional, friendly service”; it’s tempting to see it as “an alternative to Chez Bruce”, but cognoscenti caution that its aims (and prices) are less lofty.
Voted 2nd Best British Restaurant in London for over £45 per head ’
Hardens London Restaurant Guide 2010
‘ This restaurant is brilliant. The food is always superb. Really good quality ingredients and put together in interesting ways that seem to really work. Staff are great and happy to explain all that’s on the menu. I think it’s great value and has a nice atmosphere. I was there last night with a friend. We had a couple of bottles of white at £15 each – they were lovely. Depending on when you go they sometimes have a set menu on – it’s excellent value.
Great place to go for a lovely dinner with friends, on a date or with family. A winner. I really recommend it.’
‘There’s nothing about this calm, understated place that’s trying too hard, but it can claim with some justification to have become one of south London’s finest restaurants. The cooking, on our most recent visit, was exceptional. Soft, supremely fresh breads with a little bowl of rapeseed oil are whisked to the table. To start, we tried a gorgeous melee of white fish and mussels in a strong, dark broth, as well as young May asparagus with an exquisite asparagus mayonnaise. Despite this, a main of seared scallops with saffron and fennel broth was probably the highlight; our feisty rump steak with béarnaise sauce was outshone by the accompanying fluffy chips. A melting treacle tart was the best from a short list of puddings. All this takes place in a long, unassuming room, with mustard-yellow walls, a few big blobs of art, dark-wood diner-style tables, plush seating, cascades of gladioli and a parade of young, glamorous staff. Glasses of vintage Chapel Down, a carafe of house red and coffees still kept the bill comfortably under £100 for two. Not surprisingly, Lamberts has a buzz brought on by diners who know they’re on to a good thing.’
Time Out Eating and Drinking Guide 2010
‘We’ve been to Lamberts a number of times and it’s always consistently good … For those of you that don’t live in Balham, get yourselves down there either for dinner or lunch – it’s worth it.’
London Restaurant Review
‘Lamberts offers reasonable priced first-class cooking in relaxed surroundings that forego the pretension of some London restaurants. This could be one of the best small-sized restaurants you visit this year – definitely worth the trip south of the river!’