Stylish Bottomless Brunch at The Balcon:
I have a soft spot for The Balcon. It is, perhaps, because I first went there when the restaurant was relaunched and have been there a few times recently to try the new menu. I loved the concept of a French/English Brasserie – with excellent sourced produce from each country and with a menu that showcased classic dishes from each cuisine. The introduction of a new brunch menu seemed like a great idea and I was delighted to be invited along to review just before Christmas.
The bottomless brunch at TheBalcon includes bespoke Bloody Marys from the Chase vodka stall and unlimited champagne. To eat, Viennoiseries, a savoury dish and then dessert or two Parisiennes pastries. So far so good.
I know I am peculiar, but as someone who really doesn’t like egg dishes, I found the savoury selection on offer limited. It’s not unusual – for whatever reason current thinking everywhere in London seems to be that Brunch = Eggs. Whatever happened to smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, kippers, shrimp and grits or even just a humble bacon club sandwich?
At The Balcon, even the cooked breakfast comes without sausages but with two fried eggs…if you sense frustration, it is genuine. I really want to enjoy dishes like poached lobster eggs Benedict but without the eggs, the dish makes no sense. Of course, none of this helped my dining companion who was Jewish and so had to avoid all the pork dishes and anything with shellfish. Of course, for the normal egg-lover, the Balcon menu must offer paradise realised on a plate…I watched plates of what looked like delicious eggy creations appearing for happy diners around the restaurant.
That said, we sipped happily on a glass of champagne each and did find dishes to order and, we also loved every mouthful of what we ate! And, I am sure we could have adapted dishes by mixing and matching in some of the sides (there ARE sausages and black pudding there, along with slow roast tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, smashed avocado and more) had we struggled.
Even the bread and butter was fabulous (we were offered salted or unsalted butter to go with a basket of artisan sourdough).
A light salad to start was followed by one of the best burgers I’ve ever tried. Rare breed beef burger with duck confit, truffle mayonnaise and fries is a dish that is on both the brunch and the main menu. The soft confit duck adds real depth to the burger and a smear of truffle mayonnaise lifts the whole dish.
My companion, meanwhile, had ordered the 250g Yorkshire Longhorn Sirloin (without the egg), which she pronounced delicious.
We took our chances making bespoke Bloody Marys. I loved the opportunity to tailor my Bloody Mary to my own taste, adding more Tabasco and plenty of black pepper to mine.
I don’t normally profess to having a sweet tooth. But, Brioche French Toast, with mixed berry compote and lemon curd was utterly delicious. The toast was nicely crisp on the outside, light and fluffy inside and smothered with a piquant, fruity compote and lashings of lemon curd.
My companion picked the pistachio waffle with strawberry salad and Sauternes cream and was equally impressed. The evident pistachios running through the waffle gave it a lovely flavour (I did taste) and just a bit of crunch.
Brunch is served at The Balcon on Saturdays and Sundays – from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday and from 12.30pm to 4.30pm on Sundays. A weekend brunch package is £49 per person including free flowing champagne and Bloody Marys, or you can order from the menu, with most main dishes priced between £10 and £15 and with desserts for £8.
And if you do go – the burger is highly recommended!
The Balcon, London
Sofitel, London, St James
8 Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5NG