Balmain is a nice, nay, stunning suburb with bountiful restaurants, cafes, pubs and many other forms of eatery.
One place I recently thoroughly enjoyed going to was a pub cross restaurant (double win) called The London Hotel. For Balmain locals, it's their, well, local. For people spending the day or night in Balmain, it's a place where one can go to feel relaxed and at ease with great ambience, delicious food and friendly service. The common attire would be jeans and a nice shirt for guys and girls, with girls also dressing in dresses. However you really can wear whatever your little heart desires.
My very handy and obviously great tip would be to have a few drinks in the pub/bar area and then proceed to the restaurant which is conveniently located in the next room. You'd think that therefore the restaurant would be unforgivingly noisy however dear people you would be wrong. By some scientific and magical explanation which I could not even begin to comprehend or understand, the restaurant is very quiet. Now I'm not saying you're completely sheltered from hearing voices trickling in from the pub, however dinner conversation can flow freely and clearly.
The entire London Hotel is modern yet not too modern and still has a sort of rustic and traditional pub feel. For this review, however I will be focusing on the restaurant area, which was quite classic with white table cloths and one of those fake but not fake fires (do you know what I mean?!) burning warmly at the end of the room.
Okay, I hear you saying 'Enough with the description! Tell me what I can eat there!' and in reply to you I am saying: patience, all good things come to those who wait.
So as the greedy girl I am I had an entrée, main and dessert. Okay, maybe two desserts. Don't judge! Here's what I had, and what you should try too.
For the entrée, I had Chicken Ballottine with stuffed hazelnuts and parsley with truss cherry tomato, crumbed fetta and sauce gribiche - $14
I chose this one purely because it sounded interesting and I was lucky it also tasted fantastic. The chicken was yummy, although perhaps a little dry but that didn't stop me from polishing it off! You could definitely taste the hazelnut however the flavour was light, so it wasn't overpowering. The tomatoes were soft and juicy. My favourite bit was the crumbed feta, something I'd never tasted before. However, you can't really go wrong with deep-fried cheese balls!
For my main meal I chose a Tajima Wagyu Rump Cap - $39
The rump was tender and juicy and smothered in a beautifully tangy red wine sauce, just the way I like it. You can choose to have either chips or mash, but honestly, who ever goes mash when you can have greasy deep-fried chips!? The beans you see were an extra we ordered, a definite must! So soft with a slight onion flavour - just delicious.
My choice for dessert was the Caramel and Medjool Date Tart with roasted pear, pickled ginger cream - $13
I could have just had more and more and more of this dessert. The caramel was sweet, soft and sticky, the outer pastry crumbly and moist at the same time and the cream was wonderfully thick and velvety. A scoop of the tart must be eaten with a scoop of the cream - the combination is just mind-blowingly fantastic and delicious. The ginger I was not a fan of, but that's only because I don't fancy ginger in general.
Then greedy guts me just had to try the Black Forest Cake with cherries and ice-cream - $14
To be absolutely fair to myself, I did share both the desserts. I absolutely adored the cake. It was sweet yet not too sweet and soft and chocolatey and gooey and creamy and just so many things that made me unable to stop eating it. I'm not sure if that's exactly how Black Forest Cake is supposed to be but I didn't care. My taste buds were happy and after all, that's all that really matters, isn't it?
All in all, if you're after a relaxed and yummy meal, a place to drink and just purely chill out, The London Hotel is the place for you my friends.