Balans Soho Society

Restaurants , Global Soho
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(11 user reviews)
6 Love It
Save it

This Old Compton Street venue is one of Soho's popular spots. Much of that is down to its flexibility - it's open for breakfast through lunch to cocktails and dinner in the evening that stretch into busy late nights and early mornings. The pavement seating and window tables prove a bit of a draw come summertime.

The all-day food menu ranges from breakfast burritos, full Englishes, kedgeree and chorizo con papas to pulled pork sandwiches, the Balans burger, rigatoni, risotto and crab linguine. The evening menu features Thai red curries, quesadillas, duck spring rolls and Maryland crab cakes alongside bellies of pork, rib-eye steaks and sea bass served with crushed new potatoes, spinach and a chive butter sauce. Many of the dishes are available late into the night, too.

Many visit just for drinks. A good selection of the global wine list is available by the glass, extending to the champagne, too. Cocktails, though, prove most popular, with frozen daiquiris and various martinis alongside an apple and elderflower collins, a passion fruit and pineapple swizzle and a monkey gland - a mix of Broker's Gin, absinthe, orange juice and grenadine. 

Venue name: Balans Soho Society
Contact:
Address: 60 Old Compton St
London
W1D 4UG
Opening hours: Open 8am-5am Mon-Thur; 8am-6am Fri, Sat; 8am-1am Sun. Meals served 8am-5am Mon-Sat; 8am-2am Sun
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube
Price: Admission £2.50 after midnight Mon-Sat. Main courses £8.50-£22.95
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|11
1 person listening
Sam B
tastemaker

If you look up 'fabulous' in the dictionary, there is a map directing you straight to Balans. It's infamous for many reasons.... the fabulous breakfasts / brunches, the fabulous cocktails, and the very very fabulous serving staff. 


Honestly can't understand the bad reviews, as I have been coming here for years and never had a bad meal or a bad experience. In fact, I come here when I need cheering up, and it never fails to put a smile on my face. 


FACT - I once popped in for a drink on my own after a rather horrific date. I sat at the bar and drank Porn Star Martinis with the barman and a waiter who'd just finished his shift, and it was THE BEST evening. And as always, I left smiling. 


Thank you Balans. I love you.  

Marco M

After midnight there is a £2.50 extra per person cover charge (even if you accompany a friend and don't actually eat) with the excuse of some mysterious Westminster regulation (TukTuk next door opens late at weekend and doesn't charge anything!), plus 12.5% service charge.

A ridiculously small £11 (!) English breakfast (1 sausage, 1 slice of bread) with the extra charges came to £18!

Food arrived after a good 20 mins wait.

Polish Manager rude and arrogant.

They are trying to go for the higher class feel but are arguing over £2.50... pathetic.

Avoid at all cost.

Paul C
Staff Writer

On a night out, there's nothing worse than walking around in torrential rain with huge queues at all the places you had planned to go... fortunately Balans was to the rescue! We turned up at about midnight and they got us into a private booth straight away, amazing considering were were quite a large party. Service is great and after a few drinks earlier in the night, it's very hard to resist the lure of a burger to sober up! Great service, cheap drinks, good food and space to sit late into the night - this might just be my new go to hangout...

Alexandra L
Tastemaker

There’s a lot to love about this beautiful city we live in but let’s face it, there’s also a lot that tests our patience, stretches our sanity & frankly drives us to the brink of madness; regular delays on the Hammersmith & City line, dawdlers who can’t walk & text at the same time but do their best to pretend they can, M&M’s World in its sugar laden entirety, unadulterated narcissistic & over-priced pretention in bars…

Luckily there are still some spots where it’s possible to have a drink, not hand over next month’s rent as payment and enjoy an atmosphere that ticks the boxes of being a genuine, chilled and decent place in which to quench your thirst. Balans Soho Society Café is just such a spot. Sat on Old Compton St where neighbours include Burger & Lobster, Wasabi and Jackson & Rye, this branch of the small chain bills itself as ‘Restaurant. Bar. Haven for the Convivial’ and y’know what kids? It’s not wrong. When you’re told that it’s likely to be a 90 minute wait for food at nearby Sri Lankan hotspot Hoppers, the only sensible thing to do is find a place to order wine, hunker down and while away the wait which is exactly what we did here.

Despite it being 6pm at the end of the week and despite the streets outside & tables inside being full of Friday night revellers, staff at Balans were warm & welcoming and luck was on our side as they found a table for us immediately and with no concern that we only wanted drinks. Tucked inside a decent sized but not cavernous dining room, a smiling waiter materialised beside us quickly with drinks menus and then thankfully just as quickly with drinks and tap water which was topped up regularly. FYI to bars of the world; I’m much more likely to stay for another drink if you give me free water without even asking and ensure I don’t end up squiffy after the first round.

Loud enough to not feel you were sharing every detail of your post-work chat with everyone else but not so noisy that the only way of communicating was by semaphore flags, we were surrounded by couples on dates, large parties celebrating birthdays & lone diners; all were welcome here and all looked very happy with that fact. Just under £20 bought 4 small – but decently sized – glasses of wine from a list that’s not huge but definitely has enough to please everyone. Cocktails were priced between £7-9 and a checked-out-but-not-eaten-from-this-time food menu was packed with mains that spanned both the classic - fish & chips or sausage & mash – and the adventurous - soy & cola braised short ribs or black garlic roast chicken.

It’s rare to find a place that says ‘hey, it’s ok to just want a drink with a friend in a bar that looks normal’ and now that I’ve found that in Balans and told you about it here, I fully expect I’ll see you in there soon!


Dinerlady LDN

How tricky to refurb a Soho institution! But nicely done. A gorgeous little velvet pocket of a burlesque boudoir brasserie with a nice nod to the Renaissance. Whether 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, Balans offers a stylish, sophisticated and well sourced sanctuary to Soho socialites, post-show performers, those wot lunch, the queers and the nearby dears. We dropped but for cocktail happy hour from 4pm and demolished an array of cocktails and a cheese and charcuterie board for the princely sum of £20! Balans is indeed a Soho Society and here to stay!

Chlo Fo
Tastemaker

This place is a good haunt to start a night with a few drinks, or drop in for a late night meal with a diverse menu to suit a range of tastes. However, I do think it's a tad over-rated, the staff were friendly enough, but not as attentive as I would expect. The food is mediocre, I had the burger, which was cold and I had to send back. Cocktails were OK, but I would recommend going to one of the many proper cocktail bars in the area instead if that's what you're looking for.

Terry E

My favourite restaurant and cafe.  Unlike some reviewers, I've never had a bad meal here and the varied menu contains something for everyone - I would heartily recommend both the Balans Burger and the pie of the Day. The staff are always friendly, even at 4am and the atmosphere is pleasant and very relaxed whenver you go.


If you are planning on being a regular diner then I would recommend the Balans Card which is one of the best loyalty schemes I've ever seen .

HG

Very friendly and attentive staff, food was brought our relatively quickly and was to a good standard. Relatively cheap prices for London too. In a great location in soho, so would definitely recommend to anyone.

Louise Lockhart

So pretentious we we're not even let in! Never been so insulted by such ignorant behaviour. Standing in line in the cold while the doormen let various "VIP's" queue jump just shows the type of place this really is.

Flo

I ate here last night - the service was great, food was amazing and the atmosphere was wicked! I had the Greek Platter (there was alot of it!) to start, followed by a really tasty Thai Red Chicken Curry. Would definitely recommend this place for a delicious, filling and reasonably priced meal.

Morina

The chef at the small Balans in Old Compton is truly amazing. He does the best Smoked Chicken/Avocado salad I have come across in London and the presentation is excellent. I have tried this dish in other Balans and the Old Compton street Cafe leaves the others trailing. Don't lose this chef!!