Bala Baya 1

Arch 25, 229 Union Street , London, SE1 OLR

  • Bala Baya London restaurant Tel Aviv cuisine
  • Bala Baya London city restaurant bar counter dining
  • Bala Baya London restaurant Tel Aviv cuisine
  • Bala Baya London restaurant Tel Aviv cuisine
  • Bala Baya London city restaurant bar counter dining
  • Bala Baya London restaurant Tel Aviv cuisine
  • Bala Baya London city restaurant bar counter dining

SquareMeal Review of Bala Baya

A high-energy tribute to Tel Aviv, Bala Baya combines a party soundtrack with a tempting menu of Middle Eastern sharing plates, beneath a rumbling railway arch. The all-white ground floor features an open kitchen overlooked by a curvaceous dining counter, while the mezzanine is ideal for groups and longer visits. Israeli chef Eran Tibi created a buzz with Zest (his pop-up collab with Berber & Q’s Josh Katz), but on our visit, the food didn’t entirely match up. We enjoyed a compelling combo of crispy fried chicken, bitter orange and the puckery tang of kimchi, yet timid hummus and a stodgy pairing of lamb neck with dumplings fell flat. Many dishes sounded delicious, such as crispy calamari with saffron and butternut jam, yet lacked arresting flavours. Nevertheless, a sumptuous dessert of chocolate-and-hazelnut babka cake with stewed plums produced a show-stealing finale. With its abundant energy and on-trend details, Bala Baya bubbles with potential.

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6.0

Food & Drink: 6.0

Service: 8.0

Atmosphere: 6.0

Value: 6.0

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Vi V. gold reviewer 29 January 2017

Bala Baya, Southwark – The Southwark neighbourhood, though close to myself, isn’t really somewhere that I intuitively go for when I want to dine out. When night falls, the area is quiet and exudes an urban feel of being in between an office and residential area. However, off the main road a handful of restaurants found under the railway arches change that street into an oasis of foodie utopia. The dining upstairs was very dim and on this occasion worked at their disadvantage because the colours of the dishes and those microscopic salad garnishes did not stand out. Although that was alright, trying to read the menu proved to be a challenge. Bala Baya’s concept is based on a sharing menu, with small and large plates, food comes out as and when it is ready and in no particular order. Their custom made pitta bread served as soon as our drinks arrived was delicious – warm, soft and fluffy. A very good complimentary dish. Bala Baya is new, the workers were enthusiastic, the place was sparkling clean but the food was still a little lacking in the Middle Eastern flavours that I was expecting. The basis and concept of the food is still Middle Eastern but with a touch of other ingredients that makes certain dishes perceived as modern and young. There isn’t of course anything wrong with it, just appeals to certain crowd. I enjoyed it as a night out where food is not the main importance but the atmosphere, convenient for us to get to, decent drinks and service were good enough that we concluded that it was a good night out, but whether we will return, it’s hard to say.