Emyr Thomas visits Balans Soho. Balans Café opened on Old Compton Street in Soho in 1987 – still standing today is quite an achievement in London’s ever-fluid dining scene.
While several branches have opened across London – Earl’s Court, Kensington, Bayswater, Westfield – we visited the Soho original, Balans Soho, to find out exactly why the restaurant has weathered changing trends and held its own for 25 years.
You realise immediately the main reason people keep coming back to Balans Soho – it’s a fun place to visit. There’s an overwhelming welcoming feeling where everyone, from the guests to the staff, all seem to be on a fun night out.
The cocktails flow, there’s a lively buzz and you can hear the noise of happy people, which is truly infectious.
The food at Balans Soho is described as ‘contemporary global’, meaning it does a little bit of everything – steaks, burgers, fish and chips and a pie of the day all make an appearance.
The slow braised beef comes with indulgent garlic mash and a deep bourguignon sauce, while the 10-ounce rib eye steak delivers exactly what it is supposed to with a large portion of hand cut chips.
Balans Soho opens daily at 7.30am and stays open until the early hours (6am on weekends!), which makes an excellent spot for the one last cocktail or for a late dinner in town.
Read our guide to the best restaurants in Soho.