When I was asked to review The Exhibit in Balham I was a little unsure of what to expect.
The concept is great, each Thursday from 6pm-midnight is Free-Flow Thursday! Basically providing two guests order a minimum of two tapas dishes each you receive unlimited Prosecco for 90 minutes from the food order being placed and priced at £20 per person! I know what your thinking… Too good to be true right? But it is very true and a “reeet” bargain as they say up North!
I went with my good friend Zahra who is the perfect date for anything free flowing!
Our host was the lovely Natalie who took good care of us the whole evening.
The atmosphere was pretty chilled considering what was on offer, I did think it would be busier but no complaints.
We initially opted to sit outside on the open terrace with decking, perfect for a pre dinner smoke and catch up.
Nathalie mentioned they run this offer for Sunday brunch which is usually more popular with the locals and at times a bit hectic, as one could imagine. I believe Sunday’s also includes Bloody Mary’s.
Nathalie mentioned that the film Amy was showing that night and invited us into the cinema to watch it. I was amazed as I had no idea that this bar/restaurant had a small in-house cinema which is a nice touch, but we decided to remain in the restaurant where we were happy to soak up the chilled ambience and indulge – which we did as we munched our way through the extensive menu.
We ordered quite a few dishes to start, my initial faves being the Jamon croquetas and cured Iberian ham which was extremely authentic. I have been spoilt when it comes to tapas and I wrongly presumed that a chilled local bar/restaurant in Balham would provide basic tapas, good to be proved wrong as I was extremely impressed! Each plate ranged between £4-£8 so good value for money.
Being of Jamaican decent I was quite surprised and albeit fascinated by the sound of the Jerk mutton and plantain tapas; we Jamaicans are always very critical when we see our food done by non-Jamaicans -to put it politely we seem to have been born with a strong judgemental trait which has no bounds; this criticism also extends to our fellow Jamaicans! Sadly this dish lacked authenticity. The texture was nice and tender, although a tad fatty, the seasoning was absent, leaving the mutton tasting a bit gamey and bland, the plantain was also a tad hard, my curiosity had quickly turned to disappointment – this was my least favourite dish.
The Fish tacos were another disappointment; a bit tasteless and didn’t provide me with the mouth orgasm I had expected, however, Zahra was keen and devoured each morsel with gusto.
Another firm fave was the Patas bravas and the Tomato bread which was spot on, authentic and tasty – we even required an additional portion as my sharing qualities didn’t seem to be present with this dish!
The Macaroni cheese (so flavoursome) and Ox cheek were both on ‘fleek’ (amazing/very good), the ox cheek was melt in the mouth soft with a nice subtle flavour.
We also had the lovely Brad close by who was offering food suggestions and was always on hand to provide useful information such as the pigs that are bred for the Iberian Ham were fed acorns, this fact I have carefully stored away and shall remember for ever.
Although we were stuffed, in true Mi Business Mag style we had to squeeze a desert in. I opted for the Chocolate mousse while Zahra had the frozen Black current parfait– both tasty and a great way to end a delicious meal.
I got a really nice local neighbourhood vibe from The Exhibit and if I lived South of the river it would definitely be somewhere I would frequent at least once a month.
Price – £111.66 including service and endless glasses of Prosecco.
Service – Great, warm, friendly and sincere.
Ambience – Chilled and comfortable.
Bathrooms – 3/5 average no frills but clean.
For reservations and further information please visit: theexhibit.co.uk