When I moved to London I knew nothing (just like John Snow). So on my 21st birthday a good chum took me to Balans in Soho for brunch. My very first London restaurant.
Now the chaps have had some work done and are looking fantastic! So we headed down to check their new facelift.
Stepping into their High Street Kensington branch you can see the work that has gone into the beautiful interior. Worn woods, keyhole cutlery, rustic bread bins and a rather lovely tree to name a few pretty things!
Now to the menu. A mixture of late day brunching, smaller plates and hearty mains Balans cater for every taste. We opted for the halloumi with olive mash main (£10); thrice cooked chicken (£6); chicken gyoza (£7); calamari with aioli (£7); kale with chilli and ginger (£3.50); and plump juicy olives.
But first? A couple of mocktails (sensible simon cycling!). A coconut water, lime purée and agave nectar ‘Coco-Rita’ and a pomegranate, strawberry, cucumber and mint ‘Pom Pom’ (both £4.30). Both were so refreshing!
Halloumi is literally my favourite food at the moment! And this was teamed with a lovely citrusy sauce. The mash was nice but there was a bit too much of it and it was just slightly thick.
The calamari was beautifully thin and crispy, no worries of rubbery squid here! When dipped in the creamy aioli the two were a perfect match. The gyoza added a oriental twist to our choices which was refreshing.
For me it was the divine thrice cooked chicken which stood out. A really crisp outer shell with a hot chicken centre. The kale which was ginger-y and had a nice heat to it, it also added a beautiful green element to our choices!
We couldn’t say goodbye to Balans without trying dessert, so we opted for two contrasting dishes. A caramelised tart au citron with raspberries and raspberry sauce; and a chocolate cake with cherry ice cream (both £6).
The chocolate cake was a good strong cake (it might have blown us out of the water with a melt in the middle?!) however the ice cream was luuuusssshhh. It had big cherry chunks laced throughout and when rolled in chocolate sauce was so yummy. The citron tart was stand out brilliant. It was sweet but this was offset by the raspberries and I ate most of it (my poor friend).
Overall our visit to Balans was a awesome one. Great food, jolly service and a new beautiful revamp. Try out one of their branches and see for yourself.
The guys reside in The Westfield Shepherds Bush & Stratford, High Street Kensington and Soho.
187 Kensington High Street
London, W8 6SH
Reporter: Aspen Glencross