Balls Brothers Carey Lane: an underground cavern of rich indulgence, this champion cubby hole showcases timeless design, an extensive selection of plonk and some of the finest ingredients seen this side of Borough Market. The city retreat that every Londoner dreams of, it was time to explore how far the dream of two humble wine merchants had developed over the past one hundred and fifty years.
A handsome stowaway, sitting pretty beneath an inner city side street, Balls Brothers Carey Lane is the kind of guy that likes to be ignored: dark, broody and quietly charismatic, I double you dare you not to instantly fall for this charming fellow. Locate the nondescript entrance and walk downstairs: you find yourself immersed in a well sized space, characterised by rich wooden textures, raw exposed brickwork and bespoke embellishments: a wonderful complement to the crystal clear glassware and lovingly polished adornments that scatter the tables.
The signage above the bar area is reminscent of a Parisian boulangerie, and the framed illustrations hung upon the walls are reflective of the attention to detail with which this charming venue has been developed over the years. Carrying itself with a modest flair, this City of London wine bar and restaurant boasts more than its fair share of history.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
It's cavernous nature and intricate detailing hearken back to the history and heritage of the venue: stepping into this underground wonderland of plenty, one is immediately reminded of its place within the rich architectural heritage of the City, and the multitude of sins harboured by these walls cannot help but be imagined.
City folk air their grievances upon a scattering of tables, their gentle chatter punctuated by gracious interventions from the flock of knowledgable waiting staff. Always on hand to offer recommendations, perform a helpful crumb down and deliver that much appreciated bottle of Worcester Sauce, these folk are an absolute asset to the establishment.
The Food & Drink:
Hearty and comforting, Balls Brothers are famed for putting a modern twist on classic dishes. Upon the recommendation of our waiter, my partner and I enjoyed a glass of Prosecco as we browsed the extensive and thoughtfully curated wine menu; we opted for a bottle of their Granfort Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich red that would act as a delightful complement to the perfectly cooked cuts of fillet steaks that we would enjoy for our main. Welsh rarebit and chicken liver pate would serve as a prequel to our hearty slabs of meat, both a comforting choice and ones that were surely reminiscent of the history of the space.
When the City air runs thick with midweek pressure, retreat to Balls Brothers Carey Lane. A charming cavern of utter indulgence, this basement space offers a welcome breath of fresh air within the so often suffocating square mile: observe the subtleties of their wine offering, cut into a perfectly prepared piece of meat and immerse yourself in a slice of history, perched so comfortably beneath the City streets.