If you enjoy an authentic Italian pizza, baked with the finest ingredients in a traditional wood fired oven, then you will love The Honest Italian in Balham.
This newly opened family-run restaurant is the first in SW12 to have a genuine wood burning oven, using only kiln-dried hardwood sourced from sustainable British woodland.
The buzz online was The Honest Italian’s pizzas were light and delicious thanks to the fast cooking time – just over a minute – in the high temperature oven. So I was keen to see if the chat was true.
My friend and I received a warm welcome from the owners on the evening we visited.
Run by a family of cousins, the aim of the restaurant is to serve “good, honest Italian food at reasonable prices in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere”.
Certainly the vibe is very relaxed, with its modern and minimalist decor giving the restaurant a light and airy feel.
The menu offers an excellent selection of pizzas, as well as fresh salads and traditional mains like Lasagne al Forno and Aubergine Parmigiana, as well as dishes of the day.
We started with The Anti-Pasti Misto (£11.95) – a true feast to share with chargrilled aubergine, courgette, sun dried tomatoes, olives, rocket, a quite fantastic buffalo mozzarella with a selection of Italian cheeses, salami, parma ham and fresh basil leaves, served with fresh bread. It has to be one of the best starters I have tried in a long time.
Our waiter explained that all the pizzas are freshly made using a special family recipe which makes for light, tasty bases. As the pizza cooks really fast in the wood-fired oven, the base remains crispy and the flavours of the toppings taste wonderfully fresh.
Certainly our massive Quattro Formaggi (£11.95) four cheese pizza – with Fior di Latte (mozzarella), Dolcelatte, Provolone and Taleggio cheeses – was just right.
We also shared a Lasagne al Forno (£8.95) made with layered sheets of pasta, slow cooked ragu sauce with red wine and onions, topped with mozzarella and parmesan.
The waiter recommended the remarkably good house white wine, which you can drink by the glass for around £5 or £15 a bottle.
But there is a good selection of wines on the wine list, or you can choose from a list of good beers, spirits, liqueurs, soft drinks, juices and smoothies.
Desserts change daily but you can always count on real Italian ice cream – if you’ve got room left after such a great meal.
The restaurant also does takeaways.
The Honest Italian 13 Station Parade Balham High Road Balham SW12 9AZ.
Tel: 020 8722 0636