Going up the underground escalators in Balham, you can’t help but notice the slogan “Balham Haché – Where meat meets chic”.
It’s unusual for me to venture into the deep south of zone 3 Balham for my reviews, but the allure of premium patties and a townfish team meeting meant I bravely battled the post-work hordes on the northern line. Having to wait for 3 trains before getting space to board and generally herded around like cattle wasn’t quite the chic experience I hoped for.
Serenity and the nature order was restored on arrival at Haché. Being a Haché virgin, I was expecting queues at a counter, being given a buzzer and dealing with pesky burger wrappers; but no, this was a much more refined and elegant restaurant affair. It is decorated in a relaxed manner with plenty of reclaimed wood, shiny wall mirrors and stripped back original brickwork with dainty vintage dressers and chandeliers. Unlike most burger joints, this was one place you are in no rush to leave.
If you like your food plain and bland, this really isn’t the place for you. Even their simple Halloumi starter has honey and lemon dressing with chilli and at the other end of the spectrum is the hot n’ spicy chicken wings dipped in flavoursome Cayenne sauce. The meat has been carefully marinated so that you need iron will to stop yourself from licking your fingers and yet it’s not the type that is so hot it burns your mouth.
The star attraction are the burgers of course and what we have is an incredibly well thought out menu, clearly developed from years of experience since they first opened in Camden back in 2004. The bun you get served often makes or breaks the burger: here you get offered ciabatta or brioche. Being a traditionalist, I would suggest the brioche bun, as the delicateness and sweetness is the perfect accompaniment to the patty and its array of appetising toppings. Their low calorie salad option to replace the bun with a green salad is also a popular choice.
Choosing the actual burger is going to be your toughest decision of the night. Like a judge at a beauty pageant, it’s a difficult choice. They all look and sound stunning. We opted for their favourites: steak Bavarian, steak Catalan, rosemary lamb and their monthly special, the cheese squeeze. The cheese and caramelised onions were the perfect partners in crime to bring out the flavours in the beef patty of the Bavarian, whilst the Catalan had a distinct difference in taste from the use of chorizo which had strong notes of chilli and paprika. You can really appreciate the top quality produce they use from the rosemary lamb burger: it had that melt in your mouth texture using premium hachéd English shoulder of lamb with strong notes of garlic and thyme. They also offer a monthly special whether it’s cheese infused into the patty or a Sunday roast burger, they are never short of inventiveness. If you have any room left, it might be hard to resist their addictive homemade banoffe pie.
Is Haché in Balham worth travelling all the way out to zone 3? Definitely yes, but luckily for most Londoners, they have branches in all corners of the city, so there’s no excuse not to enjoy a chic night out at Haché.