Bala Baya

4.4
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
916 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
£26 to £40
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Israeli
Bala Baya brings the essence of Tel Aviv to Bankside’s Union Street Arches, the first stand-alone project from Israeli born Chef Eran Tibi, whose vibrantly progressive cuisine pays homage to his roots.
Eran’s creations offers you a unique experience that is all about feasting and sharing whilst ensuring that all ingredients are all responsibly sourced.

With the restaurant paying tribute to the city’s atmosphere which has been carefully replicated by multi-award-winning designer, Afroditi Krassa. Inspired by the Bauhaus architecture, Bala Baya has created a kaleidoscope space that allows you to experience the sun-kissed youthfulness of Tel Aviv from the heart of Southwark.

Follow the camel and enjoy Eran Tibi’s a poem to Tel Aviv!

Special Offers

1,000-Point Tables

See availability for 1,000 point tables

Mon - Fri 5:00PM - 6:00PM 9:00PM - 10:00PM
Sat 9:30PM - 10:00PM

What 916 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
Sort by
Filters
L
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall4food5service3ambience5

The food was fantastic. Such a delicious meal, with many more things on the menu I would want to try. It’s 100% worth a visit for the food, but the service was quite poor. I usually never say anything about bad service, but this was pretty insane. We received our food over ten minutes before our coffees arrived, which were ordered first and after asking several times. We also asked for a few snacks, some honey for tea etc and it took upwards of three times asking for them to finally come each time. I think it was slightly more frustrating because the restaurant was quite empty. The waiters were all very friendly, but it was just a bit infuriating that we were left waiting for things for extended periods of time. However, the food and atmosphere still makes this wonderful place worth it. Maybe just allow at least 2 hours to sit, order and pay for one course.

LS
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

It was a lovely, kid of hidden, place. Went there for brunch and food was great, recommend ordering shakshuka. Within time it got busier and the atmosphere is lively. Definitely recommend.

L
London
1 review
Dined on 18 February 2020
Overall2food3service1ambience3

Food was tasty, but very small 'sharing' portions at high prices. We were brought the bill at 9:45pm without asking for it (or being offered dessert). After dessert the waiting staff did everything they could to get us to leave as quickly as possible. Not a relaxed dining experience. Plenty of better options out there!

Bala Baya
Responded 4 days ago

Hello Londondiner, Thank you for taking the time for a review. We are very sorry for your experience and surprised to hear that the bill ended up on your table without being asked. This is not up to our standards and we will make sure that the team will get briefed about it. If you would be so kind to get in touch with us at bookings@balabaya.co.uk so we can discuss this further, we would like to hear more about your experience. Bala Baya team

Report
GK
London
1 review
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience4

A beautiful setting for a nice evening meal, however very disappointed with the food. With the menu being limited, we had presumed the quality of the food would be exceptional, but in reality it was flavorless and quite frankly not very nice. The staff were pleasant and gave us a free dessert as they split wine over the table, however the dessert was so disgusting, we didn't even eat it.
If you want good quality, tasty food, I would not recommend.

Bala Baya
Responded on 18 February 2020

Hello GraceK, Thank you so much for the review and the feedback. We are very sorry that we failed to impress you and for the wine that we spilt on you. Your feedback has already been given to the chef and we can only imagine that something must have not been up to our standards. If by any chance you decide to give us another try please email us on bookings@balabaya.co.uk and we will make sure that you will leave with a completely different experience. Much love Bala Baya team

Report
EF
London
2 reviews
Dined on 15 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really good, fun and innovative food. Generous portions and great atmosphere. We went for the tasting menus and they were able to accommodate different preferences (e.g. cheese on the side). Highly recommend!

JO
1 review
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Tried the Valentine’s Day set menu, a good way to sample of the menu highlights. Service was amazing - despite it being a busy night for the staff it felt like everyone got individual attention!

Bala Baya
Responded on 18 February 2020

Hello JoannaO, Thank you for being so kind and we would like to ensure you that in your next visit you would get the same attention, if not even more :) Much love Bala Baya team

Report
SV
Northampton
1 review
Dined on 14 February 2020
Overall1food1service4ambience1

Every time I looked at the chefs they were licking their fingers. Made me not want to eat the food. They were completely unaware of kitchen standards which is surprising as they are in an open kitchen. The portions were small and we, along with other tables sent back food. They covered everything in flower petals which were both tasteless and textually unpleasant. The only plus was the Lithuanian who saved us. Massive waste of money and the worst Israeli restaurant I have been to. Very disappointed and others were too

Bala Baya
Responded on 16 February 2020

Hello SVP84, We will pass this feedback to the Kitchen and we do apologize if you were given the wrong impression about our standards. We are surprised to hear about food going back though. We have been receiving very positive feedback about the Valentine's day and emails thanking us for the lovely night, so we are not sure where did you find the rest of unsatisfied diners. As for the portions, unfortunately we cannot compete with American standards. We are an Israeli restaurant after all.

Report
R
London
3 reviews
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall4food4service2ambience5

The food was incredible, and we loved our experience. The only thing I would like to add is that the waitress was far too pushy with trying to get us to order more food, wine, basically interrupting us constantly. It almost tarnished our experience, so perhaps it could be fed back?

e
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious, creative, and beautifully plated. Food came quickly and service was fantastic as well. Restaurant was nicely decorated and a great place for friends to hang out. It was buzzing on a Thursday night. It is a bit pricy, though. Expect 40-50 per person.

Bala Baya
Responded on 18 February 2020

Hello eatinginvermont, Thank you so much for a lovely feedback and we are thrilled to hear that everything went well in you visit. We hope to see you soon on another buzzy day :) Much love Bala Baya team

Report
WR
London
3 reviews
Dined on 13 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This must be my tenth visit to Bala Baya and, frankly, it’s always good! The team is great, food is bold in colour and flavour and the ambience relaxed and casual. Highly recommended

KR
London
1 review
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Charming restaurant on Union Street, hidden away - squid and black was delicious, service was attentive and they let us change tables to the one that I preferred.

MG
London
3 reviews
Dined on 8 February 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Unusual tasty food. Wonderful flavours. We had the Vegetarian Tasting menu and enjoyed every mouthful of each dish. Every plate was wiped clean!

SK
London
2 reviews
Dined on 7 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely food. Delightful service. Highly recommended.

CM
London
1 review
Dined on 6 February 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Explosive flavours (which I enjoy) but perhaps not as well balanced as it could be. Would have a higher rating, but the incredibly high noise levels make the experience somewhat uncomfortable and the entire party were somewhat anxious to leave.

Also, the desserts were somewhat disappointing in comparison with the rest of the menu.

R
London
7 reviews
Dined on 4 February 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went as a group of four and shared about 9 dishes, they are fairly small plates but we were all full by the end of our meal. So many great flavours, we loved everything - especially the chicken thighs and hummus! The restaurant is nicely designed inside and there was a good atmosphere. I will definitely be returning!

FM
London
1 review
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We tried most of the small plates and they went from wow ( the humous) to average ((the tomato salad) to not great (the mackerel). Dessert was really poor. Cheesecake really dry. Service however really good. Reason for not recommending is because I think it’s too expensive for what it is.

RZ
London
4 reviews
Dined on 1 February 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

There were hits and misses.

The hummus and baba ghanouj were delicious! and the sea bass excellent.

The vegan lamb was very odd, the cauliflower ordinary, desserts were terrible, non edible!

MG
London
1 review
Dined on 31 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding Fresh Food with Huge Variety pf tastes and Flavors

LC
London
1 review
Dined on 31 January 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience3

Pleasant venue. Friendly and helpful staff. Good service. Very average good, and definitely too expensive for what we ate. You will certainly find better places to eat around that area.

OT
London
3 reviews
Dined on 29 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Lovely place with an creative take on Israeli cuisine. Try the prawn baklava and the aubergine mess - they're delicious

GB
London
38 reviews
Dined on 28 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Excellent food, excellent service. Just quiet when we visited but otherwise perfect

OT
1 review
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Nice vibe with a nice location. The food has an Israeli base but not really convinced if they should call themselves an Israeli restaurant. The service can definitely improve, paying more attention and serving with more passion. And maybe a small reminder that you should have your customer taste the wine when they order a bottle. Here they just open and fill your glass.

Prices are also not really well balanced looking at the dishes

AL
London
2 reviews
Dined on 25 January 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Lovely food, but portion size of Turkish Eggs felt a bit small for the price, especially as it didn’t come with any bread. Although the waitress did bring me some complimentary bread when I asked. Overall, we had a nice brunch

WR
London
4 reviews
Dined on 23 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I really like this restaurant. As a relatively frequent visitor I have yet to experience a single occasion in which the food, service or overall experience has been anything other than very good..... the occasional change to a couple of dishes on the menu every so often also keeps the choice on offer worth another visit.

M
London
173 reviews
Dined on 19 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ramains the go-to venue authentic Israeli food. Great dishes, excellent service and fair prices. All that's missing is the beach!

Bala Baya
Responded on 22 January 2020

Hello Mogman, Thank you very much for a lovely review. We are taking into a serious consideration all the feedback that we get from our guests as we see them as our personal goals. In this occasion, the task you set is hard... but a beach it is!!! Much love, Bala Baya team

Report
OT
Sydney / NSW
2 reviews
Dined on 19 January 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Rggs in the lamb shakshuka were overcooked and became rubbery. Also quite loud upstairs and can be difficult to hear each other on the round tables

Bala Baya
Responded on 22 January 2020

Hello Anonymous, Thank you very much for the review and bringing this to our attention. The feedback has been already given to the chef and we are very sorry for the wrong execution of our delicious shakshuka. Please feel free on your next visit to let us know if something on the dishes or the ambience is not right for you and we will fix it swiftly. We are looking forward to hosting you again and make your experience much better. Bala baya Team

Report
T
London
2 reviews
Dined on 18 January 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Tucked away off union street this split level restaurant offers excellent quick service, delicious Middle Eastern food. Traditional dishes you would expect are spiced up with exotic and inventive ingredients like the mouth watering roast aubergine with lychees. Best was the lamb in pitta with fresh salad. Ingredients were fresh and combinations worked well. Also nicely accommodated for my lactose intolerance. The dessert we chose was a chocolate pastry which came warm but dry and tasteless. Apart from that it was a delightful dinner after the exhibition. Ambience was buzzing but not overwhelming, wish they had turned the lights down a little especially downstairs where the countertop is. Recommend for couples and groups alike

Bala Baya
Responded on 22 January 2020

Hello Tesangel69, First of all, thank you very much for a lovely and constructive review and I would like you to know that we have already given this feedback to the chef. As for the lighting, we share the same opinion with you but unfortunately there is a certain level of brightness that our open kitchen chefs need in order to provide us with their magic. Of course we will see in to this and find a solution as we believe that our counter is the heart of our restaurant.

Report
H
London
1 review
Dined on 16 January 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience4

Best hummus in town, super generous amount of truffles in the plates ! great area and atmosphere.

WR
London
4 reviews
Dined on 10 January 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

A relatively frequent visitor to Bala Baya and enjoy it every time I go - worth a visit to the “tapas style” restaurant....... a touch noisy at times but not yet too noisy!

Bala Baya
Responded on 12 January 2020

Hello WilliamR, Thank you so much for a lovely review and even more for your constructive feedback. Our music philosophy matches our cuisine and flavours, which is rich and intense, however, we would never want to affect anyone's evening in a negative way. I would like to encourage you in your next visit to feel free telling us to put the volume a little bit down for you. We know that we are overdoing it sometimes so please never feel shy to remind us :)

Report
PC
London
81 reviews
Dined on 9 January 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a superb business lunch here a few days ago. Everything hit the mark. Delicious food (the chicken and cauliflower were my top two), an excellent wine choice and just the right level of attention from staff. Looking forward to coming back very soon!

MC
Oxford
3 reviews
Dined on 7 January 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Great quality food in lovely modern restaurant with friendly and efficient staff. Hope to visit again soon.

BC
1 review
Dined on 4 January 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Some of the food was excellent (tomato salad and confit mackerel) but the prawn baklava and octopus were not good and at these prices (£14-16 for a tapas style main) it is just not good enough. Disappointing as it has a lot of potential. Service and drinks were pretty good.

LG
London
12 reviews
Dined on 4 January 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great service; very accommodating of a toddler

DP
1 review
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience5

Lovely restaurant under the arches, with attentive and friendly staff. Food was really excellent, but we did find the special New Year menu more pricey than we had hoped. Would have been better if there had been a slightly reduced price for children. Would recommend and the ambience was first class. Will be back in the future.

OT
Dubai
7 reviews
Dined on 31 December 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

It was New Year’s Eve. Very nice food, excellent service and good ambiance

J
Cambridge
3 reviews
Dined on 28 December 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Good food, nice staff, Palomar, which has a similar menu is better though! Cocktail with roses very innovative.

RD
London
1 review
Dined on 28 December 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience5

The cake we had was very dry. The cost was £44each. This is far too expensive.

OT
London
6 reviews
Dined on 28 December 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Once again we had an amazing time. Good food, friendly, professional and fun service. Fun vibe.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 27 December 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience1

The music did not suit the restaurant, it felt more appropriate for a night club. The staff appeared underdressed a little unfriendly and intimidating. the food was ok but the market fish was overpriced and we were not informed at the time we ordered it.

C
London
1 review
Dined on 20 December 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

Portions too small, Correspondingly - prices too high.