We were recently invited to London Pullman St Pancras to try the newly launched 'Intelligent Breakfast', a healthy breakfast offering featuring a variety of meat free, gluten free and sugar free breakfast items.
Created by Honestly Healthy founder, Natasha Corrett, the five dishes and two breakfast smoothies are a great way to start the day - without weighing you down. Options include plum and kuzu compote breakfast pots (to aid digestion), a chia and turmeric omelette (to boost energy), and a selection of smoothies.
The 'Intelligent Breakfast' menu is available in the hotel's meeting rooms or the stylish Golden Arrow restaurant, which is perfectly located in Central London for an informal catch up with friends or ideal for a low-key business meeting.
We thought all of the items were tasty, making it difficult to pick just one! If you're really peckish, we recommend that you order a few items, such as the omelette, muffin and a smoothie, to fill you up and keep you going until lunchtime. But perhaps that's just us being greedy! Overall, we think it's a great option if you're looking for an alternative to boring porridge or a not-so-healthy fry up.
London Pullman St. Pancras
100 - 110 Euston Rd
Balans Soho Society is a Soho mecca where fun reigns supreme. Its clientele come for the lively atmosphere, stiff cocktails and massive portions of tasty food served with a smile.
This is not a place where they do things by half measure. This café, restaurant, bar, and member’s establishment has a distinctly naughty atmosphere about it, which is good if you’re in the mood to party and listen to a bit of house music with your dinner but probably not so good if it’s a Monday night and the cocktail sirens are calling!
The décor is a mish mash of vintage and de-constructed glam, think cosy charcoal hued banquet sofas, industrial chic wood and iron tables, designer wallpaper, velvet curtains, naughty paintings and a few random pieces of brick-a-brac thrown in for good measure.
Balans Soho Society’s menu is overseen by Executive Chef Crispin Chetwynd, a renowned chef who has toured the globe with Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd. The seasonally-changing menu highlights the best local produce from Ginger Pig and H. Forman & Son (the oldest smokehouse in London).
Menu options at Balans Soho Society - Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the heart of Soho
Balans serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, so there are plenty of opportunities to visit. Breakfast options include everything from the Soho Full English (£9.00), Kedgeree (£9.00), pancakes (£7.50), French toast (£7.50) and house-baked granola with berries, yoghurt and Kent honey (£6.00). Brunch options include The High Society eggs Benedict (fresh lobster, avocado and bacon) (£12.00) and eggs in hell (two poached eggs in a tomato and chilli sauce with potatoes and Parmesan) (£7.00).
Light bites include burnt aubergine baba ghanoush peppered with pomegranate seeds and sumac; thrice-fried chicken with shichimi mayonnaise (£6.00); and charred squid and chorizo with fried potatoes and piquillo peppers (£7.50). The hearty mains include everything from the infamous Balans burger (£12.50) to grilled halloumi on olive mash with cherry tomatoes and lemon honey dressing (£11.00) and skillet-roasted chicken with farro, fig and pine nuts (£15.00).
Our visit to Balans ...
We've been to Balans on several occasions as we love its cheeky atmosphere. On this particular occasion, we decided to try something different. For our starters we had the seared 'melt in your mouth' yellow fin tuna in a chilli, garlic, ginger, soy and pickled cucumber marinade (£8.00), which was simple yet delicious. Next up was the proveleta (£7.00), which is simply baked Provolone cheese and cherry tomatoes on sourdough toast, which was a bit like a posh version of a margarita pizza.
For our mains I had the 12oz sirloin steak with double-dipped chips and bourbon BBQ sauce (£25.00). The steak was juicy and perfectly cooked with a smoky, chargrilled flavour. My husband opted for the cod special of the day - a generous portion of cod that was fresh and flaky - just how great fish should be.
Cocktails so many cocktails…
Cocktails take front and centre here. Here you’ll find everything from the porn star (Absolut Blue, vanilla syrup, passion fruit puree and a Champagne shot) and the elderflower Collins (Broker’s gin, St. Germaine, apple); to cheekily named cocktails such as the slap on the rum (Redleg spiced rum, pineapple, mint and ginger beer) and the Society teddy bear (Buffalo Trace, cinnamon, cranberry) served in a honey bear bottle.
During our visit we tried the non-alcoholic mocktail coco Rita (a non-alcoholic drink comprised of coconut water, lime purée, agave nectar)(£4.30) and the passion fruit and pineapple swizzle (Ron Abueli rum, pineapple, lemon and prosecco) (£9.50), which is basically a holiday in a glass.
Although we were absolutely stuffed after dinner, our friendly waitress insisted that we make room for a dessert. Indulgent dessert options include the High Society mess (for two) (£10.00), sticky toffee pudding (£6.00), a chocolate tart with Jack Daniel’s ice-cream (£6.00) or banoffee pie. We opted for the banoffee pie, a serious slab of banana, cream and toffee pie covered in thick whipped cream and drizzled with caramel. Although tasty, this belt-busting dessert was pretty heavy going even for two people sharing.
One thing that really struck us about Balans Soho Society was how friendly and helpful the staff were. As you can see, everyone is up for a laugh and they have no problem posing for an impromptu photo! Before we departed our waitress gave us two tiny vials of absinthe, which we feel sums up our cheeky experience perfectly.
As a quote on their menu reads 'let us devour, imbibe and frolic’ – we can’t think of anywhere else where this is more apt. Keep up the fun.
Food and drink: ★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
Balans Soho Society
60-62 Old Compton Street
For media mavens, The Refinery is best known as the post work watering hole next to the Bluefin building where everyone goes for a well deserved whistle wetter after a long week. For everyone else that visits during the work week, it's simply a bustling industrial chic restaurant/bar in the heart of Bankside.
Brunch options are pretty standard fare, including the full English, eggs Benedict, mashed avocado on toast with poached eggs on fresh sourdough, blueberry pancakes, Cumberland sausage, a crispy bacon sandwich, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and a great selection of burgers, sandwiches or desserts, providing enough options to satisfy any cravings.
If like me you're 'rise and shine' challenged, you need not fret as the Sunday Brunch is served all day, granting you permission to hit the snooze one more time...
During my visit on a Sunday morning, my fellow diners were comprised of a mixture of groups of friends and young families in their early to late thirties, all enjoying whiling away the hours over a casual brunch.
As a creature of habit, I indulged in the eggs Benedict (classic, but delicious) and my friend opted for the mashed avocado on toast with poached eggs on sourdough, both of which were lovely. Drinks consisted of a latte (good foam) and a Ketel One Bloody Mary (excellent, according to my friend).
The best bit about our visit was the 'no rush' ambience, making it the perfect place to catch up with my friend - without feeling pressured to shoo us out the door to make way for other diners. And in my estimation, a lazy brunch is the makings of a perfect brunch...
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about the new pop-up porridge cafe that will soon be gracing East London in all of its oaty goodness.
Opening on Monday, 2nd of March, the Porridge Cafe pop-up will be located between Shoreditch and Old Street. Breakfast lovers and porridge afficianados will be able to choose from a rotating menu of 11 different grains including Buckwheat and Quinoa amongst others, with toppings such as persimmon compote, chia seeds, papaya, agave nectar. Traditional toppings will also be offered for those with less adventurous tastebuds.
Savoury porridges and exciting variety of grains will also be available at lunchtime, with recipe twists such as red velvet beetroot spelt, feta and capers topped with a poached egg.
The Porridge Café is the brainchild of the team behind the successful street food catering company Bow Food (bowfood.com) and is powered by We Are Pop Up.
Nik Williamson, Founder of the Porridge Café said:
"We were inspired to launch the café after seeing the Nordic revival of porridge, where it has been shown to be an exciting and versatile staple dish - both savoury and sweet".
Open 7am – 6 pm for breakfast, lunch and early dinner 7 days a week. Sit in or take away.
The Porridge Café
70 Paul Street
Restaurants, Bars and food/drink pop ups and reviews
There's nothing more delicious in life than indulging in a sensational meal.