A Charm on Union Street
Bala Baya restaurant in Southwark is tucked in just off the Old Union Yard Arches. This Tel-Aviv style eatery and bar offers a variety of Israeli sharing plates. The split level dining and the overall ambiance brought a wave of sophistication to the restaurant.
The incredibly happy and friendly waiter who greeted us on arrival ensured us that this was also a very down-to-earth and comfortable place to dine! We felt this all the more when we were told that “all guests receive pitta and dip on arrival.” Exactly what we want to hear!
There are 16 sharing plates on the menu, with 7 being veggies, 4 fish and the rest a mix of lamb, chicken, pork and beef. So whatever your food preference, there is most definitely something for everyone! Some plates are quite small and others much bigger. We were recommended to share five of the smaller dishes between the two of us. We chose:
- Cauliflower – with crumble syrup yogurt £9
- Smashed Roasties – with celeriac, macadamia puree, nutmeg and black truffle £11
- Prawn Baklava – 3 King Prawns with bitter lime syrup, lime cream, Persian lime and pistachios £14
- Pig & Pomelo – Pork belly with spiced caramel, kohlrabi pomelo and salted peanuts £11
- Saffron Beef – braised beef with saffron dumplings, blackened tomatoes and pecorino cheese £16
All of the dishes were really colourful and flavoursome. The roasties were incredible and one of our favourites with the truffle flavours, really making this dish something amazing. That said, we did think the portion was on the small size.
Our other favourites were the Prawn Baklava, the Pig & Pomelo and the Saffron Beef. The prawns were incredible, and although you only get 3 in the dish, they were huge! They were plump and meaty and we loved the combination of lime and pistachios.
The Pork belly was how you expect a good bit of pork to be cooked – soft and succulent on the inside with that fabulous crispiness on the outside – definitely a winner for us. The Saffron Beef was juicy and soft and we loved the saffron dumplings. They made this dish rich and filling and you get a really good sized helping
As you can imagine, after devouring all of that we were pretty full! However, the options for dessert were so intriguing that we just had to try on. We opted for the Parsnip and Honey Semifredo with butterscotch and honeycomb (£8). We really weren’t sure what to expect but it did not disappoint.
The beauty and colour of the dish was fantastic with beautiful notes of purple edible flowers and yellow parsnips and honeycomb. The thin pieces of parsnip were a crispy delight and were complimented so well by the gorgeous chunks of honeycomb and the smooth butterscotch ice cream. This dessert really was a lovely surprise to us and absolutely recommended.
During our meal, we sipped on a cocktail each – Toxic Passion – Rum, Passion Fruit, lime and basil syrup and Basil and Mint Sour – Basil infused Hendricks, cucumber, mint and lime (both £13)
The toxic passion was a great combination of alcohol and fruit and the basil syrup gave it that extra special edge. The Basil and mint sour was a true delight – creamy, with a great balance of sweet and sour, topped with some pretty edible flowers.
We loved our time at this gorgeous restaurant in Southwark and thoroughly enjoyed the food. The price point was a little high for us but we would recommend visiting for a special treat as it is well worth a visit.
East London Girl: Bala Baya
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