There are institutions.
There are legends.
And then there’s Balans.
Famed for opening late, they actually opened rather early – roughly 30 years ago, in fact. Back then, in the early ’90s, Balans started out as a sandwich shop for local office workers. Soon, they started selling their sandwiches in the evening. And then to ravenous partiers as they left the nightclubs at 2am. Eventually, they hired a chef to start cooking actual food for all these people. And one Christmas Eve, they realised they couldn’t find the front door key, because they’d been open for 24hrs a day for so long they hadn’t needed it in months.
Nowadays, it still opens late 7 days a week, closing briefly between 5am and 7.30am most days just to spruce the place up a bit before charging back into the morning shift. The place has a light, elegant feel to it, like a casual louche den complete with studded banquettes, booth seating, and parquet floors.
Breakfast and brunch kicks off with lobster benedict; confit duck hash; and their inimitable pancakes; before launching the all-day goods, like crab tortellini, or their Balans Burger, made with Red Leicester – and on the night menu, you can get the ‘Quintessential Balans’ dishes, including a Thai red curry, classic fish & chips, and some winter squash lasagne with walnut bolognese.
Of course, there are cocktails too. If you’re there at 4am, it goes without saying that you’ll need an absinthe fountain to share. Their signature drink, The Porn Star can be found under the section of the menu marked ‘A Little Sophistication’. But in fairness, it does have a shot of champagne to go with the vodka & passionfruit.
NOTE: Balans is open nearly 24 hours, every day. You can find out more, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Balans Soho Society | 60-62 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UG
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