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“A sure thing”

Balans Soho Society Cafe
Ranked #2,031 of 22,564 Restaurants in London
Price range: US$6 - US$16
Cuisines: Contemporary, Cafe, British, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Bar Scene
Dining options: Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, 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.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“A sure thing”
Reviewed 29 June 2014

I absolutely love Balans Cafe, just as much as its big sister down the street, if not more. Its intimate, unpretentious, and just wonderful. The staff are always absolutely brilliant, so friendly and caring. The food is always fresh and tasty, the prices are very decent, and the loyalty scheme is very beneficial! Open 24-7 its a brilliant place to get breakfast after clubbing, or at 5 in the evening on a Sunday. Balans is what London is all about, and I can't recommend them enough. I have been going here for years and have yet to find a fault with this place, its truly my favourite hangout in central!

Visited May 2014
Thank bla3ke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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257 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
49 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Good food, pushy waiter demanding service charge”
Reviewed 18 June 2014

Visited this place without seeing any reviews before hand but it seems it was a good choice. The food was delicious and well presented. However, I left the table and my partner informed me when I returned that the waiter was insisting on payment of the 10% service charge - which even said optional on the receipt! We had paid the requested fee (minus the service charge) but this was returned saying "no, you have to pay the full amount" - you shouldn't be forced to pay tips and only pay what you felt it was worth. Nevertheless, this ruined the experience for us and so to avoid unnecessary arguments we paid the extra but left very displeased...

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
3 Thank Matt B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Nice cafe at westfield, try the green tea.”
Reviewed 29 May 2014

And brilliant green tea, proper leafs, good service and location will return when I have more time to eat.

Visited May 2014
Thank D S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
81 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Good food ruined by bad service!”
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,

Thank TexasGirlinAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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”
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

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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank imperator12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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