The Honest Italian, Balham

One of the great things about living in Balham is the array of independent bars and restaurants dotted around the centre, just waiting to be explored.  We’ve tried a few different places since we moved here in May, and The Honest Italian has been on our ‘must try’ list for a while, so when I was contacted to see if I wanted to try a meal for two there of course I had to say yes.
Stepping into The Honest Italian you are taken into a cosy yet simplistic room.  The tables and benches are of thick wood and warm lighting created an intimate, friendly atmosphere (although not great for photo’s, a similar issue I had at Pizza Express last month, it seems to be a trend among the capital’s Italians at the moment).  The chalk boards on the wall and open bar and kitchen give a family, trendy-rustic touch.
We started off the meal with an Italian staple, the anti-pasta platter.  To me this felt like a more authentic version then the anti-pasti dishes I had tried at other Italians in the city.  Everything was fresh and there was plenty for two people to share. It featured some classic meats, beautiful Italian cheese, fresh bread and vegetables cooked in Italian oils.  I don’t think I’ve enjoyed veggies more then I have here, it was a really great way to start a meal.  
Onto the main course and after much debating I went with the Lasagne Al Forno which was light and slightly creamy, although the acidic tomatoes were the only stand out flavour. It could have done with more depth of flavour and a better presentation.
Judging by the two pasta dishes offered but the whole host of pizzas you can assume that it is the star of the show here.  Harry chose The Honest Italian pizza, a creation that contained prawns, dolcelatte and flor de latte.  All the pizza are thin crust, cooked in the traditional pizza oven.  The pizza was the perfect combination of crispy base and soft toppings, a very flavoursome combination, although we did find it got cold very fast.
To finish off the evening we just had to go for desserts, I went for the tiramisu, which has a very subtle coffee flavour (perfect for me) and a very light and smooth texture.  Harry went for a mascarpone and raspberry based dish, again this was light and just sweet enough without it being too much.   

Having a 3 course meal and coming away not feeling like I was a huge gluten who could no longer walk, especially when that meal contains pizza, is a new and very welcome experience for me.  The food was filling but light, and the service was really fast. We had a full 3 course meal cooked fresh in just an hour, but at no point did we feel rushed.  A great place for a mid-week treat, and plenty of people seemed to stop in for a quick bite or a drink on their way home.  Our 3 course meal would have come to around £19 each which iI think is pretty great value.
The meal was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all words and opinions my own.  

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