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“Good food ruined by bad service!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Balans Soho Society Cafe

Balans Soho Society Cafe
Ranked #2,005 of 22,204 Restaurants in London
Price range: US$6 - US$15
Cuisines: Contemporary, Cafe, British, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Cheap Eats, Local cuisine, Bar Scene
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Brunch, After-hours, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighbourhood: Soho
Description: Originating from the heart of Soho (the colony for the unconventional and the kingdom of the one handed clock), Balans Soho Society reignites the same café still stands where it originally began almost three decades ago. Open around the clock the café has always been a busy hang-out by day and a refuge at 4am for those in need. It boldly asks 'How does one constitute a late breakfast 2pm or 2am? Not for the fainthearted, Balans Soho Society Café is a place to indulge. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-dark activities in the company of fellow bon vivants. It remains a café at heart, while serving up delicious dishes it also serves sandwiches and café style nosh. And it's all done in the spirit of Soho - the iconic corner of London that has always acted as a refuge for outsiders: minorities, eccentrics, bohemians, dreamers...people drawn together by a shared conviction that normal rules don't apply to them. A place to go when you feel like doing things you probably shouldn't.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Good food ruined by bad service!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2014 via mobile

It was a decent meal up until the wait staff decided to ignore me! I wanted a second glass of wine, but couldn't get it. Then I literally waited for 20 minutes after the table was cleared to get my check. So yes, table empty - no water, no napkin, nothing- and I have to ask four (4) times to get my check. This really ruined the meal for me, and I would caution trying this place- there are so many other places nearby,

Helpful?
Thank TexasGirlinAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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244 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    10
    13
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
32 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A Lively Bistro with Very Good Food in the Heart of Gay London”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014 via mobile

Two of lifes greatest pleasures are staying in a fine hotel and dining in an elegant restaurant. I screwed-up the hotel part of this trip to London and we literally slept through (jet lag) our reservation at Helene Darroze. Thankfully we did dine at some restaurants that almost made up for my bitter disappointment at missing Helene Darroze.

Balans was one of those restaurants, even though Balans is the antithesis of the magnificently refined Helene Darroze. Balans is cramped, crowded, and very loud. People will be banging up against your table. Your neighbor will practically be eating off your lap. This is the sort of place I would normally loathe. Yet..we both loved it. The atmosphere is exuberant. Some of the exuberance may have been due to the fact that it was a gloriously warm Sunday evening. We were soon chatting and laughing with the guys at the neighboring table. And watching the entertainment that is the throngs of people parading along Old Compton Street.

Balans was packed that night and only had two servers. Yet they were both delightful, outgoing and obviously use to serving in such a crowded, tight space. They were always coming to the table to see how we were doing or to see if we needed anything.

For dinner we started with mozzarella, tomato and basil. Such a simple dish that so many restaurants manage to screw-up. Balans did it to perfection; every single ingredient was so fresh and in the right proportion. Our exuberant new friends at the neighboring table highly recommended the thai curry but I went with the more traditional roast beef with parsnips & carrots. Absolutely delicious. My partner went with some fish dish which he said was very good but not nearly as outstanding as my roast
beef.

I love truly elegant restaurants. But there are times when it is pure joy to immerse yourself in a totally raucous environment. Balans was so much fun...and had very good food. It was the perfect way to spend our last night in London.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank imperator12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Always consistent”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 May 2014

Balans cafe is always consistent. Staff friendly and good food. Good buzz in the place and excellent location in Soho.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Peeves73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Deal, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“BASIC BUT GREAT”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2014

We had a great little breakfast early Saturday morning and our waiter got everything just right.
Super food, hot coffee and attention to detail (I love the way Balan's staff serve you as if you are eating in their home but are also trained to be professionals so for me this is what I call perfect service).
My only jib with the café is it is a bit basic in its interior design. Can you paint the walls with some lovely coloured paint-magnolia? looks so drab and could look so much nicer painted with some lively colours. Otherwise 10/10

  • Visited May 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank RalphCade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
99 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Great english breakfast”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2014 via mobile

The full english breakfast was amazing. It even came with complementary coffee or tea. It was filling enough that we skipped lunch and had a late dinner.

The atmosphere was cozy. Whoever put together the music playlist had interesting tastes; we heard 4 Kelly Clarkson songs, one by Avril Lavigne, and 3 Christmas songs (this was in April).

The service was outstanding. Our waiter was in charge of all the tables (there were 10 occupied at the time of our visit) and he was very fast, polite, and did an amazing job overall.

I would definitely return to try out some other menu items.

Helpful?
Thank ItsStef
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.

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