Balans Soho Society doesn’t look like the typical modern British restaurant.
Especially when it says it focuses on a touch of indulgence, yet it’s a haven for the cheerful, lively and friendly – the interior tells a different story. It’s actually pretty edgy and cool – with a diner feel set-up, lots of greys and browns, then standout hanging lights and bar. It’s filled with eery memorabilia donning the walls, like a 3D case filled with a doll with hair on end. But it’s super cool with a delicious menu, as I found out recently at a fab evening organised by Nicola (East London Girl).
Settled into a long table at the Clapham branch, we sipped on a beautiful fizz whilst eyeing up the menus and soaking up the atmosphere. It was reasonably buzzy for the Thursday before the Christmas break.
The dinner menu is extensive, with over ten starters and ten mains to choose from including Maryland Crab Cakes, Pulled Pork Tacos, Lentil & Spinach Cottage Pie and Cornish Crab Linguine. There appears to be something for everyone – They say they happily cater for differing dietary requirements and vegans too, and just to ask them about options.
There’s nothing better than a table filled with dishes for all…
The Smoked Mozzarella & Bolognese Arancini with Red Pepper Ketchup, were dreamy. Soft in the middle with a fantastic crispy coating and flavour. These are a must!
I really enjoyed the Manchego & Serrano Ham Croquettes, with Spanish Paprika Aioli too. The same fab coating, yet a lighter flavour. Portions for starters were really big, so definitely share if you’re going with these two!
The Flatbread with spiced goat, labneh, pickled red cabbage, preserved lemon and coriander had a fantastic flavour. The toppings were plentiful, and the meat tender, although the flatbread itself was a little tough. The Pulled Pork Tacos with grilled pineapple and habanero salsa had great reviews from the others around the table too.
Mains reminded me of comfort food, but on another level.
The Porcini Braised Beef Short Rib with pomme purée, crisp onions, chestnuts, parsley and burnt onion purée, went down well with Nicola, and looked super tender being pulled from the bone.
The Vegetable Jambalya, cajun tofu, baby corn, squash, mushrooms appeared to go down well, described as not overly spicy, but delicious in flavour.
I had zero food envy however, as I tucked into the Roasted Cod with champ, cabbage, Welsh rarebit and cockle dressing. The fish was so delicate in flavour and really tender. The champ was super creamy, and the welsh rarebit and cockle dressing complimenting one another well – creamy and rich. It was one fantastic dish!
The Ginger & Garlic Sauté Kale was really tasty too, just wilted enough. Whilst the Double-Dipped Chips are also worth ordering; chunky cut, crisp on the outside, fluffy in, and really yummy.
If one isn’t too stuffed, sharing a dessert is a good idea.
The Sticky Ginger Pudding, with ginger sauce and vanilla ice cream didn’t impress as much as hoped. It perhaps needed a little more sauce. But that could just be me. However the Baileys Cheesecake definitely impressed! With hazelnuts, espresso syrup and coffee beans, it had a fab flavour, was super creamy with a great biscuit to cheese, and espresso syrup ratio.
As for the drinks…It’s not just all about the fizz.
There’s plenty of wine and brews, as well as hot toddies. But really it’s the cocktails which are worth visiting for.
The Pornstar Martini was brill, as was the Strawberry Refresher (Broker’s gin, Pama, strawberry, apple) which arrived with an actual refresher on the side of the glass. I loved my Tiki Daiquiri (Redleg spiced rum, lime, vanilla, grapefruit, pineapple), which was super tropical and made me feel even closer to my holiday.
We had a fantastic feast pre-Christmas, but this menu is the current standard one, so it’s sticking around. Balans Soho Society has eight locations, where food & drinks are served until late. I’ll definitely be heading back for one or the other…or both!
- Price: Starters range from £6.50 to £9, and mains from £13 to £26 (Ribeye), which is pretty standard for London pricing for a restaurant and location like this. Cocktails are priced at £9.50, which is actually very reasonable!
- Food: Delicious comfort food. Definitely share starters!
- Drinks: Go for a cocktail – the Tiki Daiquiri is the one.
- Atmosphere: pretty edgy and cool.
- Wait: There wasn’t really a wait when we visited just before Christmas but do book if you can.
Have you had any delicious comforting meals recently?
*I was invited along to the food bloggers evening at Balans Soho Society with East London Girl. All views my own.