A Covent Garden café from the iconic Soho institution.
Back in the day, Balans Soho Society was pretty damn cool. Starting life in 1990 as a 24-hour restaurant and café on Old Compton Street, it was a place best stumbled into after an evening of gay clubbing, for a sexy French brasserie atmos and early morning cocktails.
Twenty-six years on and things have calmed down a tad. The manifesto on their website (yes, they have a manifesto) salutes the ‘rogue, the rascal and the reprobate’, but the vibe at this latest outpost, a Seven Dials Café, is more working lunch than wild wino.
The food, though, still hits the 3am spot, even if this branch actually closes at 11pm. With a menu that features a bit of whatever you fancy (linguine, curry, pulled duck tacos and so on), it’s not game changing – but then, it’s not really trying to be. The highlight was the burger, which came stacked, cheesy and perfectly pink in the middle (creamy bolognaise arancini balls were also pretty ace). My tip? Avoid the chips: they were limp and lukewarm. All in all, Balans may no longer be as achingly hip, but this is still a snug, dependable spot to grab a bite.
Relaxed, spontaneous, sociable dining is very much the order of the day at Balans, whatever the time of day. Whether it’s for a brief encounter at breakfast, a meandering weekend brunch, a light lunch or a candlelit dalliance over dinner, Balans Soho Society Café extends the most cordial of invitations to whet the appetite or wet the whistle, whatever your pleasure.
Using only the freshest, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from such suppliers of excellence as The Ginger Pig and H. Forman & Sons, everything – from small plates such as the delicious ‘Smoked Trout Fishcakes with Caper Salsa’ to main courses like the best ‘Infamous Balans Burger’ – is prepared in-house. Cocktails are all freshly made by skilled mixologists. The wine list is skillfully chosen to carefully complement the eclectic, award-winning all day menu.
Just a short stroll from Shaftesbury Ave and St Martins Lane, the Café is perfectly placed for a pre-theatre supper or a drink at the bar after a show.
Bohemian, gregarious, sophisticated and perhaps just a touch eccentric - a place to abandon your plans - Balans is the quintessential Soho experience.
|Venue name:||Balans Soho Society Seven Dials Cafe||Contact:|
32-34 Monmouth Street
|Opening hours:||Mon - Sat: 8am - 11pm | Sun: 8am - 10.30pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Covent Garden|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £60.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.3 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Lovely people, lovely food. We had a great brunch - with prosecco ! The atmosphere is perfect and they will let you book on a Saturday lunchtime, which is as welcome in central London as it is unusual. Meaning that my Mum (83 years young) is a particular fan.
Great food at reasonable prices and a superb location. Only down side for us was the service – so slow, and served three tables, who had come in after us, before coming over to see why I was waving my arms. If you can get over service like that, you'll love the place.