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Rebranded and redecorated, this is the first of Balans’ five London branches to be rebooted. It’s now apparently aimed at ‘the rogue, the rascal and the reprobate’ – which might be considered cutting edge in genteel Kensington, but Tim Burton-esque gothic and a menu littered with florid prose is becoming hackneyed elsewhere. A cocktail session could commence with Captain Redleg’s Afternoon Tea (a spiced-rum fruit cooler) or Apple & Pears (King of Soho gin, pear liqueur and apple juice), while a selection of frozen fixes includes Ode To Madame JoJo’s (a Colada of Ron Abuelo Panamanian rum, coconut, and strawberry liqueur). Wines start at £18.50, French fizz (Lanson) at £45. Begin brunch with The Morning After (a gin, absinthe and ‘recovery syrup’ Sour) on a menu of all-day eats including anything from masala omelette, crab linguine or feta and quinoa salad (£9.50) to the ‘infamous’ Balans burger: strictly for the ravenous.
If someone says the word brunch, Balans is actually up there in terms of the places I always remember getting a good fry up. The portions were enough to fend off the toughest of hangovers, the staff were fabulous and the cocktails so tempting, I do remember my pal ordering a pornstar martini when it was barely nearing midday (hair of the dog if I remember).So when I heard that some of the cafes within the Balans group had received a bit of a nip and tuck, I was very keen to investigate. The two I’d had such fond memories of were the two in Soho (One restaurant and bar and another, more smaller cafe, both...
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