It’s official. Summer is over. No more picnics in the park, or leaving work when it’s still light out… it’s all pumpkin spiced lattes (ugh) and coat weather from here. If there’s one thing I'm looking forward to; it’s Victoria’s burgeoning food scene. Nova Food has had some shiny new additions while Market Halls are moving in, bringing Marksman, Koya and Breddos Tacos with ‘em and on top of that, Balans Soho Society have brought their plush interiors and mouth-watering food. So it was over to SW1 I went, to see if Balans could brighten up a drizzly day.
Dark hues and plush accents make Balans an enticing option.
With floor-to-ceiling windows and soft velvety seating, this southwest spot is plush from the get-go. Here, wood furnishings are mixed with green fixtures and splashes of copper. If Harry Potter had a local bar, I can imagine it looking something like this. Taking my mum with me, we started things off with tuna tataki (£9) sitting atop avocado mousse and yuzu tobiko, which was somehow upstaged by chickpeas (£7.50). What sounded like a simple dishes of houmous also came with freshly-baked falafel, crispy chickpeas, creamy harissa yoghurt and perfectly cooked flatbread.
While mum’s roasted cauliflower (£14) seemed like a good idea, a giant piece of veg swimming in a sea of truffled lentils, burnt leeks, girolles and capers was a bit too much all at once. Luckily for me, as I ordered the crab linguine (£15), our waiter suggested an addition of prawns, and what a good thing that he did, because juicy hunks of hand-picked Cornish crab and meaty prawns topped with lashings of chilli were the perfect match for this plate of pasta which we washed down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio Venezie Blush (£26).
Come hungry, because this menu ain't messing about.
In the same way that Trump loves the word tremendous, I have a big thing for dessert. No matter how much I’ve eaten, you better believe that I’m leaving room for something sugary. By some miracle, I managed to eat all of the warm doughnuts (£7), dipping each sugary morsel into pots of velvety dark chocolate fudge sauce and vanilla Chantilly. While the tiki daiquiri (£9.50) could have done with a proper strain, the punchy mix of spiced rum, vanilla, grapefruit and pineapple was a tasty choice. Mum went for pina colada cheesecake (£7) with coconut sorbet and judging by the fact she devoured it all, it’s safe to say it also went down a treat.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Located only minutes from some of the city's best musicals, this branch of Balans is a prime choice whether you're after pre-theatre dining, after-work drinks or brunch at the weekend. With a combination of classic dishes, refreshing cocktails and well-chosen wines alongside indulgent desserts, you’ll want to spend a whole evening here.