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  • New York style meets modern British food in Balham

    Where? Harrisons, 15-19 Bedford Hill, Balham, London, SW12 9EX (0208 675 6900; www.harrisonsbalham.co.uk)

    The lowdown: Following on from the sail-away success of Sam’s Brasserie in Chiswick, Sam Harrison (see what he’s done there?) has brought his blend of New York-style-meets-modern-British-food to Balham. The bar is warm and welcoming, oozing a cool Soho vibe; there’s even a weekend brunch menu.

    So stylish, so pricey? That’s the beauty of it – no! There’s a focus on enjoying great food in relaxed surroundings, and the prices reflect this with mains ranging from £10.50 to £17.50.

    What’s on the menu? We kicked off with Maldon Rock oysters in shallot vinegar (£1.75 each) and a glass of bubbly – perfect. Pan-fried sea bass with courgette risotto, roast cherry tomatoes and chilli butter (£14.50) and one of the Harrison’s Classics, fish and chips, homemade pea puree and tartare sauce (£12.50), made delicious follow-ups, proving this sassy bar does both comfort and refined food with pizzazz.

    Can it get any sweeter? Oh, yes! The sticky toffee pudding in caramel sauce with clotted cream (£5.50) was truly scrumptious, and the warm chocolate and hazelnut brownie with vanilla ice cream (£5.50) has got my mouth watering as I write. Need I say more?

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