If there’s one awesome thing to find near your workplace, it’s good food.
I work in South London, so Balham is basically a stone’s throw away from me and the perfect place to go food-hunting once the working day’s done. There are plenty of restaurants in the area, serving up all kinds of food, from Thai to pub grub, and delicious, cheeeeesy pizza. *insert pizza emoji here*
And, as you may or may not know already – if you follow this blog, you definitely will know – I’m a big-time pizza lover. It’s my ultimate go-to comfort food – whenever I’m feeling a bit rubbish, there’s something about piles of toppings thrown over some oozy cheese on a thin crust base that always lifts my mood.
So, The Honest Italian was definitely a great discovery. Located just moments from Balham station, it’s an intimate venue serving up classic Italian dishes, including wood-fired pizza with plenty of topping choices.
My favourite way to start off an Italian meal is definitely with bruschetta (£3.50). I like to pre-load those carbs before I get my pizza on, y’know. Carbs carbs carbs. I could just live on carbs.
And The Honest Italian’s offering was incredibly satisfying – for a start look at those big ol’ tomatoes. Healthy things to counteract the carbs – at least, that’s what I told myself. The bread was delicious and perfectly soft in the middle with a crisper outside, and the chunky tomato and onion salsa went down a treat.
We also grabbed a plate of the garlic bread (£3.20) – and these guys don’t scrimp on the garlic butter, a pet hate of mine. As with the bruschetta, the bread was cooked to perfection, fluffy and light with a crunch on the corners.
When our pizzas arrived, the first thing I noticed was that THEY. WERE. HUGE. Seriously, they didn’t even fit onto the plates they were served on. And when it comes to me and pizza, the bigger the better.
I chose the Patatine pizza (£11.50), involving chorizo and thinly sliced potato on a tomato base. Because I’m not sure if I mentioned it already, I just can’t get enough of them carbs. Conor went a bit more traditional, choosing the Quattro Staggioni (£12.50), which came with ham, salami, capers and anchovies – and mushrooms, although we requested it without them. And as always, we did a bit of a slice swap to try each others’.
If I’m being honest, I did prefer the Staggioni to my Patatine. The Patatine was definitely still enjoyable, but the potato on the pizza is perhaps a bit of an acquired taste. However, the meat toppings of both were delicious, and both came with a generous helping of cheese and sauce.
The Honest Italian’s pizza base is super thin, the kind where eating your pizza with a knife and fork is actually necessary. Which I personally LOVE, as it means even more focus is put on the toppings. The edges of our pizza were a little blackened, but I’ve found that to be pretty common with wood fired pizza ovens, and it didn’t take away from the brilliant texture of the cooked dough.
How awesome-looking are these desserts, right?
And you’ll be pleased to hear, they taste as good as they looked. Being my predictable self, I chose the Dark Chocolate Chocolate Cheesecake (£4.50), and it was gooey and rich and just melts in your mouth. The hint of orange was relatively subtle, but really added another dimension to an already fantastic dessert.
If you’re not so big on chocolatey desserts, the Coppa Rossa Mascarpone (£4.50) is also a tasty choice. Smooth mascarpone ice cream on a biscuit base with a tangy blackberry sauce and white chocolate pieces on top, the flavours are light but still seriously satisfying.
While it’s a tad pricier than I’d usually pay when it comes to pizza, the size of the pizzas and generosity of toppings definitely gives allowance for the cost.
The service was fast, and the restaurant itself had a relaxed and intimate vibe. Oh, and in case you’re not a pizza fan (I’m truly sorry…), there are also a selection of salads and traditional Italian lasagnes (meat and veggie options).
If I’m being honest? This Italian is definitely worth your time.
The Honest Italian
13 Station Parade, Balham High Road, SW12 9AZ
*We were given a complimentary meal in exchange for review. Opinions and pizza love all my own.