London town isn’t short of brunch spots, but it’s rare one finds oneself dining in St James’s. Situated within The Sofitel hotel, the grade II listed The Balcon may be a classic French brasserie, however, 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-esque 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 areas - it was a squeeze to get in to our table without knocking the table 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 give 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 croque 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 that the portion could have been a bit more generous.
The banana, coconut and blueberry pancakes served with hefty blob of dangerously moreish cinnamon mascarpone were perfectly light and fluffy. In fact, I was so impressed I’m going to try and recreate them myself for Shrove Tuesday! My friend sprung for The Brioche French toast with a mixed berry compote and lemon curd, which also went down a treat, thanks to a welcome juxtaposition of sweet and tart flavours.
Aside from feeling at times that I was dining with those at the next table given we were so close in proximity, 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.
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