Set in a Grade-II listed building on the Pall Mall, The Balcon packs an impressive punch as soon as you enter through the revolving doors. Think double height ceilings, regal purple and gold and touches of marble and oak. Part of the Sofitel Hotel, the French brasserie is open from breakfast through to dinner for both those staying in the hotel and for tables like us that were just visiting for the evening.
The dinner menu is split into small plates (think garlic & potato soup with truffled crème fraiche), starters, mains, a grill section and you’ll also find a plat du jour – or dish of the day to you & I. Start the week with French favourite Coq au Vin and end with red mullet on ratatouille.
We couldn’t quite tell the difference between the first two sections, with dishes similarly priced around the £10-15 mark. We opted for the roasted goats cheese, a big slab of cheese slightly softened and topped with pomegranate honey and almonds. Slightly lighter but equally delicious was the avocado mousse with lobster, served with a cracker so wafer thin it broke on contact. Despite all the mains on offer, we were both in the market for a perfectly cooked steak which The Balcon delivered. The fillet will set you back £31 though, so perhaps best saved when you’ve got the work credit card on you. We adored the smoked rooster mashed potato served on the side.
Desserts were a real highlight, beautifully presented in true Parisian patisserie style. If you just can’t bring yourself to choose one, plump for the Parisian pastry sharing plate and share the lot.
The Balcon serve daily afternoon tea and based on our desserts we reckon that would be pretty cracking.
For Christmas and New Year The Balcon are launching new menus – ideal if you happen to be staying in town for the big day (we have the past two years and it’s a LOT of fun). Expect lobster bisque amuse-bouche, salmon, crab and avocado terrine to start and of course, a bronzed turkey for the main event. To make things really special, add bottomless champagne for an additional £60. They’ll be a live jazz band accompanying your meal during Christmas lunch and on New Year’s Eve.