75 Bedford Hill
Let me start by saying, I’m loving the summer heatwave. I’ve got the tan lines to prove it. My arms now are so dark compared to the rest of my body that they look embarrassingly out-of-place like a cheap repair job to your first four-door sedan. After the depression I went through during the prolonged winter, I am hesitant to start complaining about our turn in weather fortunes but like the wise prophet Cheryl Cole once said, “Too much of anything can make you sick, even the good can be a curse.” (look we all love the song and if you don’t at least find it catchy, then you’re a robot…or have better music taste than I) so after a long day in the sun, I was seeking refuge from the heat and a good coffee in the Balham area.
This brought me to Lavish Habit, a chic little bouquet cafe located a short walk off Balham High Road heading towards Tooting Bec Common.
The place was relaxed and welcoming. The interior was filled with vintage and unusual items you will not find anywhere else which created quite a cool atmosphere. The cafe was buzzing with a steady turnover of patrons both inside the cafe and outside, whether on the pavement or their outdoor seating area. It wasn’t long until I joined them.
My main purpose for visiting was for a flat white because that is exactly what you need when temperatures are reaching the high 20’s (sucker for punishment?). The coffee culture has really picked up in London now and with that also people’s expectations of what is considered a decent coffee. We’ve thankfully moved on from when established chains like Costa and Nero were considered the benchmarks. The flat white at Lavish Habit – using Monmouth beans – certainly did not disappoint with a milk to coffee ratio which was spot on.
Being me, I can’t go an hour without eating so naturally, I checked out the menu to see what was on offer. For its size, the cafe had a surprising amount of choice whether you felt like a simple sandwich, salad, quiche or something cooked. There is also the usual baked good on display (brownies, flapjacks, cakes etc) if that is your cup of tea (or coffee…whatever) in addition to a nice selection of Jude’s ice cream.
I settled for one of their flatbreads, which consisted of a pita bread, salad and cheddar with your choice of meat and sauce finished off in an oven (so basically a mini pizza). I went for ham as my meat and a really lovely chilli sauce. All in all, it was a nice little snack and I enjoyed it but have 2 gripes: 1) the cheese was quite overpowering which is a shame because that meant you couldn’t taste the sauce of your choice. Using a milder cheese like mozzarella might be a solution; and 2) the tomatoes were not deseeded and once the juice got to the pita, it made the overall dish quite soggy. Add this to the oil released with the melted cheese and you’ve got a pretty messy dish which needed a knife and fork to get into.
All that aside though, I enjoyed my visit. It was laid back, chilled and I felt quite trendy being there. I walked in with the primary goal of finding a good coffee and I got a great one with some good food to boot! If you’re in the Balham area and seeking the same, go pay these guys a visit.