The Balcon

Why go here:

If you want to have French inspired British dishes in one of London’s most lavish settings.

What it looks like:

Part of the five star Hotel Sofitel, this restaurant is housed in a grade II listed building in central London. It’s hard for you to walk in and to not spend the first few minutes gaping in awe at the decor of this place. There are dramatic crystal chandeliers, polished wooden floors and tables to match and a stunning cocktail bar which is modelled after Coco Chanel’s apartment apparently. On your walk to the toilets, you notice more of the lavish decor. Keep your eyes open for a rosy pink hall decked with a five foot tall harp. The waiters, all in formal attires, were also very attentive and friendly.

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The food:

The French-British fusion food here really is superb in quality and taste. I had snails here for the first time and I couldn’t have started somewhere better. They came in a little red pot and reminded me of fresh, juicy scallops in texture and taste but were softer and coated in a buttery parsnip puree.

The twice baked cheese souffle was another classic they aced- the dish was melt-in-your-mouth and set in a richly flavoured lobster and creme fraiche sauce.

souffle

For mains, I tried the lemon sole which came with a burnt butter and sage sauce and with garlicky, wilted spanish. While the fish was white and fresh, this dish didn’t stand out much in comparison to the rest of the meal but probably only because the rest had greatly exceeded my expectations whereas I have had sole fish done in a similar style at other places.

Finally onto desserts, my favourite part of the meal. The tea-flavoured creme brulee was divine and I am yet to find another to match its taste. The vanilla ice cream profiteroles drizzled with the hot chocolate and praline sauce were lip smackingly good and a total treat to the eyes.

profiteroles

Verdict:

If you want to impress someone, bring them here. The grandeur of the venue and the quality of the service and most importantly, the food, is bound to win them over.

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