Cheese, glorious cheese, you know I love it so! On Friday night, we went along to The Lodge pop-up restaurant in Balham, and boy am I glad we did. Ahead of our booking, I’d spent a good few days convincing Alex that the dodgy fondue he’d had years ago with his flatmates wouldn’t be a patch on what they are offering at Jimmy Garcia’s three-month residency in Balham.
I managed to get him to agree to share one with me, rather than go for the usual meat feast that he does so love, and I’m glad that he said yes because if you’re opting for fondue then you have to do so in pairs. It was definitely the right choice for the evening, even though I’m still suffering from a mild cheese coma as I type! Mmm, cheese.
The Lodge has been decked out to make you feel as though you are dining in the mountains – all warm and cozy, with decor to reflect Alpine scenes. They are open all day, from Tuesday through Sunday and serve fondue, HOT COCKTAILS(!) and a selection of dishes including pigeon, venison and a delicious looking Huntsman Breakfast among other delights. Did I mention the hot cocktails? It’s worth the visit just for one of those alone.
For research purposes *cough* Alex and I tested out a few of the hot drinks and I have to say they were delicious. We probably should just have had one, what with the amount of food on offer, but we braved a second like the gluttons that we are! My favourite was the Jersey Shore, consisting of rum, butterscotch sauce, golden syrup, giffard liquer and cardamom. Alex loved the Jamaican Hot Toddy made with Blackwells Rum, all spice, golden syrup, a twist of lemon, and a dash of water.
The food took a little while to come, but we were in no hurry… Why rush when you’re relaxing in a comfy lodge with amazing company and great food to look forward to, eh?! We ordered fondue with charcuterie, mainly to keep me from eating too many of the potatoes and bread that came along with the cheese feast (allergies), but also because the meat looked too good to resist.
Everything was superb! The fondu was made of a blend of Coolea and Ogleshield Somerset provided by Neal’s Yard and the serving was far larger than we could manage, but we gave it our best shot, don’t you worry about that. Alex even found room for dessert – three scoops of ice cream served with a tray of toppings waiting for you to pile as high as you so dare. Or maybe not, if you’ve taken the fondue one step top far!
As fabulous as the food was at Jimmy’s pop-up restaurant, it was the relaxed atmosphere that I enjoyed the most – We didn’t feel rushed at all, the staff were friendly and the setting was just right. It was pretty busy, so if you can make it, make sure you call to book a spot soon. The Lodge has already been open a few weeks and I’m sure their three-month residency will fly by, over the festive season. I, for one, hope to get back for the breakfast menu sometime very soon.