Food & Drink: Balham Feast Food Festival

This Sunday marks the fifth year of Balham Feast, a family-friendly food festival held in Hildreth Street and Bedford Hill in the heart of Balham.

Run by @BalhamStreats, there will be more than 25 food stalls and bars, plus live music from local talent throughout the day and, running from 11am-5pm, the event usually attracts more than 1,500 visitors.

This year’s food stalls feature dishes from around the world – Jamaican, Moroccan, Indian, Greek, Italian, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, including multiple vegetarian and vegan options.

Local stallholder James Cornish, one of the four co-founders of Halloumi Room, a pop-up vegetarian food stall which serves halloumi cheese wraps, has traded at the event for the past three years, and says it’s one of their busiest gigs of the year.

Main pic: Halloumi Room co-founder Emma Elms and Jessica Cornish, Above, Escape The Daily Grind

“It’s a fantastic, vibrant local event focussing on great-tasting, quality food,” said Mr Cornish, who runs Halloumi Room with his wife Jessica Cornish and friends Stuart Williams and Emma Elms.

“We’ve built up a loyal following in the area and our customers tell us they love having our wraps freshly prepared in front of them.”

Last year’s event saw heavy rain but most stallholders were determined not to be beaten by the terrible weather.

Richard Blundell, owner of again has a stall at Balham Feast this year, said: “We’re used to the British weather. We’ve sold cakes in temperatures of -2C right up to 30C.”

Meanwhile the team behind Funky Moves, the London-wide dance company for kids, teenagers and adults, which offers classes at Balham Leisure Centre, Tooting Bec Athletics Track, Tooting Common and Oak Lodge School in Clapham, didn’t let last year’s downpour hold them back either.

“We run weekly outdoor dance fitness classes so are used to dancing in the rain,” said Holly Easterbrook, creative director of Funky Moves, who will be running a stall and hosting dance workshops outside Sainsbury’s with her team this year.

Jefferson’s Ice Cream

“Last year we ended up playing music on our stall and just grooving all day long to keep the miserable weather from dampening our mood.

“We love the energy of the event. It’s one of the most positive, community-driven and family-friendly events we’ve ever been involved in and it totally matches the ethos of our company.

“We always bump into tons of people we know from our various dance classes and holiday clubs, and get to chat with like-minded business-owners, local parents, grandparents and kids.

We’re hoping to get everyone up dancing again, shaking, strutting and letting loose to the music – and that’s adults, too.”

One of the newest recruits to the event is Jefferson’s Ice Cream, a hugely popular café in Balham High Road, which opened earlier this year, founded by husband and wife Christopher and Celine Thompson, who’ve lived locally for more than 20 years and ditched their corporate jobs to enter the world of ice cream and desserts.

This will be their first year at Balham Feast, though they’ve attended many times as visitors.
“We love the fact it brings the best of Balham’s food scene together into one concentrated area.

It reminds everyone how great the cafes and restaurants really are in Balham, and also what a fabulous community we have here,” said Christopher Thompson.

Business has been booming at Jefferson’s since they opened in March.

“The local community seem to really enjoy having an ice cream and dessert shop as part of their food offering, and many have also embraced us as their regular coffee spot,” Christopher added.

“Our customers like the fact we’re also open in the evenings and we get many popping in after yoga, or with their kids after Brownies and sports clubs etc.”

If all this is making your mouth water, get down to Balham Feast this Sunday, from 11am until 5pm.

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