- I will change for myself, not for other people
- I will have the courage to risk something big for something good
- I will make sure every single person in my life that I love and cherish will know exactly how wonderful they are
- I will not let the actions of others disturb my inner peace
- I will do the things that enrich my life
- I will find time to read for pleasure, even during the school semester
- I will learn to be happy alone, because if you can’t enjoy time with yourself, why would you expect other people to be happy to be around you?
- I will learn to use BOTH my head and my heart, not just one or the other
- I will have the self-respect to never settle for less than I deserve
- I will learn to accept responsibility for my faults and learn how to improve on them
- I will forgive… myself and others.
A haven from the hustle and bustle of central London and the surrounding high streets, The Grove on Oldridge Road plays a quaint but substantial little part in the foodie backdrop of Balham. Standing out from her surrounding pubby counterparts, this is not your typical English public house. A quirky Victorian haunt with a menu to match, The Grove makes for a great dinner date spot or a casual round of drinks with the mates.
Last week, a friend and I ventured out of South Kensington and across the river to test the waters on this one. Escaping from the bitter cold that’s now upon us, we rushed into the decadently designed hub. With old oak kitchen tables, plush leather couches and draped curtains, the atmosphere was cozy and casual but with an air of scandalous grandeur. Seduced by the aroma of mulled wine and skin-on chips, we were lead to our little table by the bar, by the host.
A gastronomic masterpiece with a menu not to fault, The Grove this season lets you drink in the stunning brasserie dining room while enjoying dishes inspired by the team’s travels up and down the East coast of the America, cooked with a British twist. A food lover’s haven, we surveyed the menu with wide eyes and watering mouths. With season starters such as clam chowder and goat’s cheese, walnut and fennel quiche, to bourbon sticky ribs, ale battered haddock and a 21-day aged rib eye steak with parmesan fries; we weren’t quite sure where to start. With full knowledge of the belly bomber dinner ahead of us, we dove right in starting with the smoked rainbow trout and roasted chilli fish cakes and the rope grown mussels with smoked bacon drenched in Meantime Pale Ale. For my pescatarian dining partner and I, the fish cakes were cooked to crispy perfection with a spicy kick, and the moules offered a sweet and savoury opener for our mains. The accompanying pale ale, too, made a perfect dipping sauce for the sourdough bread provided.
Following in quick pursuit, perfectly timed with our next glass of Pinot Grigio, our waiter swept in with the main courses. Shelby decided on the three bean vegetable chilli with goats cheese dumplings; a delightfully flavourful stomach-coating for the big night out to follow. The goats cheese dumplings melted in your mouth and the accompanying chilli went down with a kick of cinnamon and chilli; a perfectly hot bowl of comfort food to combat the negative temperatures outside. I went with the pan-fried market fish of the day, which happened to be Sea Bass. Presented in its entirety on a bed of on the vine and juicy roasted tomatoes and pearl onions, the fish was cooked wonderfully; very tender with just the right amount of salt and sweet from the vegetables. Very true to my fashion, I demanded a side order of the courgette fries that proved a masterpiece in their own right with a garlic aioli for dipping; sinfully naughty yet nice. My only regret with this meal was that I didn’t try the famed Balham Burger. A juicy tower of prime beef, cooked in dripping bacon served with American cheese, mustard mayo and, the special ingredient; peanut butter.
The colonial yet contemporary laid back spot transports its diners to a bygone period with its simply majestic interior, but lends itself as the unpretentious spot for a chat over a pint with friends. Truly a jack-of-all-trades, I highly recommend it!
Written By Eden White