16, Balham Hill, Clapham, London, SW12 9EB
The Avalon, between Clapham South and Balham, is a destinational gastro pub serving up fresh modern British dishes while still managing to retain the true London pub experience.
Décor and Ambience
An elegant, neighbourhood gastro pub is the setting, warm and welcoming with the feeling that its a haven for the locals to unwind in after a hectic day, very much in-keeping of the Mythical island of Avalon that it was named after. More luxurious and grand than your average gastro pub in London, you have the feeling that King Arthur would be much obliged to spend his evenings at The Avalon. Walk past the street side tables and front garden and enter the bar, brimming with laid-back laughter and casual drinkers. Sit at the bar on a comfy bar stool, or take on a chesterfield sofa and marvel at the Renaissance-styled wallpaper that might reinvigorate the Sunday drinkers nursing their Blood Marys. Low-lit lighting and butcher-style white tiles are a firm nod to the Victorian age, a clear sign that the Avalon caters for the refined, discerning drinkers and diners of South West London. If you can make it past the bar, you are rewarded with a grand dining room, with centre-piece skylights hosting galleon-shaped chandeliers that catch the eye, and a back mirror wall encapsulating how far British pub-dining has come. The Avalon can boast a beautiful landscaped garden but on our visit was closed for the winter period.
The Avalon pub between Clapham and Balham is a fine gastro affair
Clientele and Atmosphere
Sitting on the Clapham-Balham border, its no surprise that The Avalon is frequented by 25-35 year olds, all visiting for the relaxed and modern setting. Mid-week you will find couples, first-dates, and groups of friends dining out, and the bar brims with after-work drinkers escaping the dramas of the day. Come the weekend, a livelier scene enfolds, as the shackles of the week are freed and so is the wallet, with a busy bar team serving a packed out front bar. Families are well catered for and Sundays are full of papers, hangovers and locals getting their Sunday roast fix. The Avalon seems to be a pub for all occasions, something very few London pubs can master.
The Avalon pub in London is for all occassions
Patrons of the bar are well catered for with a comforting Bar Menu serving up pub classics from Fish and Chips (£11) to the Avalon Burger (£10) that are a little on the pricey side. The Dinner Menu, is where head chef Adam Hicks showcases his fresh modern British cooking, and can proudly boast that his Chicken and Pork dishes are truly free-range reared on British soil as the Avalon has its own farm in Hampshire. Ambitious starters range from Jerusalem Artichoke Soup to an Asian Crab Salad on the daily specials board (£6) that was fresh and a perfect introduction to the menu. Debate your main course options from Wild Boar to a Pan Sea Bass fillet and of course a fine selection of Steaks and fish dishes (starting from £13). Another nice touch is the Pudding Menu, something that you dont see too often in London, and again delivers, with the Bramley Apple and Blackberry Crumble with Stem Ginger Ice Cream (£5) straight out of the Garden of Avalon.
A happily affordable wine list, with fresh and citrus based Chenic Blancs from South Africa the stand outs, with bottles starting from £13.50. Classic cocktails are crafted behind the bar, and well-priced at £6.50. Not too many ambitious lagers on tap, but worth a go are the Timothy Taylor ales and Doom Bar draught.
Background music soundtracks the evening but its pitched low enough for conversation to flow that saves bursting your friends ear drums. The Avalon caters for the sports crowd, with selected Premiership, Rugby and Cricket matches being shown on several 42 inch HD screens around the bar but not too overbearing to make this a no-go pub for the ladies.
The Avalon serves up quite possibly the perfect modern pub experience, with a distinct classic British feel, a touch of Victorian elegance and the ability to cater for all pub goers, this London pub is a golden apple plucked straight from the Island of Avalon.
Budget: Happily Affordable