"It certainly was a tasty treat..."Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
London town isn’t short of brunch spots, but it’s rare one finds oneself dining in St James’s. The grade II listed The Balcon, situated within The Sofitel Hotel, may be a classic French brasserie, but in recent months they’ve introduced a new weekend offering inspired by the classic British brunch. Combining The Balcon’s signature French cuisine with British influences, the team will merge culinary traditions from both sides of the Channel to offer ‘Le Brunch’.
The Balcon oozes old school glamour; a little Gatsby-esuqe in its styling, the restaurant features double height ceilings, statement spiral staircases and chic banquettes. The tables are a little too close together in some parts - it was a squeeze to get in to our table without knocking the one next to us.
The menu features classic egg dishes, mains such as a rare breed beef burger and a rather delectable looking soft shell crab, as well as a grill, fruits and seeds for those with a healthier palette and a decent selection of sweets. The Weekend Brunch is a great option if dining for an occasion; £49 per person will bring you free-flowing champagne, viennoisseries, a savoury main, a sweet dish or two Parisiennes pastries and a Bloody Mary.
I started off with the Trealy Farm croquet madame, with raclette cheese and a duck egg; a plateful of gooey, oozy, cheesy deliciousness. Do not underestimate the joy raclette can bring. My guest enjoyed the poached lobster and avocado eggs Benedict, though remarked there could have been slightly more of it.
The banana, coconut and blueberry pancakes were perfectly light and fluffy - I’m going to try and recreate them myself for Shrove Tuesday the flavour was so good - certainly helped by a hefty blob of dangerously moreish cinnamon mascarpone. The Brioche French toast opposite me also went down a treat, with its mixed berry compote and lemon curd a welcome juxtaposition to the sweetness of the toast.
Aside from feeling at times I was dining with those at the next table we were so close, our food did take rather a long while to appear, waiting nearly 40 minutes for our second course. It certainly was a tasty treat, but the service could have been quicker - lazy Sunday or not.
Laurel reviewed The Balcon on Thu 16 Mar 2017