Balans Soho Society's collection of restaurants opened up a new spot at Clapham Common and we just had to head down south of the river to check out their lovely restaurant!
It has a nice outdoor seating area for customers to take in the summer sunshine and enjoy their meal outside.
The interior of the restaurant is beautifully designed by Simon Costin, the famous fashion show set designer, who made his name creating dramatic sets for Alexander McQueen.
The Pear and Port Martini (£11) was delicious and strong. You can clearly taste both ingredients with every sip. This was my favourite drink out of the two that we tried.
The Suco Brasiliero (£9.50) was garnished with dehydrated pineapples and had a strong burst of pineapple flavour, but not too overpowering as it was mildly dampened by flavours of sweet mango. It was strong and refreshing. The perfect cocktail to have during the warm summer days. Though, I would have preferred the mango flavour to come through a bit stronger.
For appetisers, we ordered the Cornish Crab (above) (£9) and the Seared Scallops (below) (£9).
The crab dish had a diverse flavour profile - it was sweet, moist and contrasted well with the sour pink grapefruit. The mouth feel was especially interesting: crispy squid ink crackers, crunchy lettuce, tender crab and soft avocado puree. There was perhaps a slightly acidic taste in the dish that not everyone may like -- it could be that some grapefruit juice was sprinkled around the dish? I'm not too sure, but I thoroughly enjoyed this and would order it again.
The scallops were very fresh, succulent and just the right consistency. It was contrasted beautifully with spiced cauliflowers, toasted almonds, buttermilk and a few sprigs of coriander (I normally don't like coriander but this was a great contrast).
Although Balans would probably be described as modern British fare, this Lamb Rump (£18) dish drew upon Mediterranean influences -- harissa carrots, preserved lemon cous cous, sumac yoghurt, apricot and green tahini. The lamb was tender but could perhaps have been slightly more salted. The sausage was spiced and gave a lovely kick to the dish. The lemon didn't really come out in the cous cous though and I thought that it could have been stronger. All in all, it did make for a very interesting dish.
I was craving crab that day and ordered another crab dish -- Cornish Crab (£15) Linguine! I am always a fan of a classic aglio olio pasta and this didn't disappoint what with beautiful parsley, lemon and crab added to that. It was very refreshing and delicious.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding (£6) was, needless to say, very sticky, extremely moist and the caramel ice cream on top, complemented it perfectly. Sometimes sticky toffee pudding can be quite dry inside or just not have enough of a toffee/caramelly/date-y flavour. But this was great. 10/10 would eat again for sure!
Balans' Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake (£6) was very rich and indulgent. I would have preferred the cheese flavour to come out stronger and the brownies to be a little more fudgy. It ended up just tasting like a chocolate cheesecake because it wasn't fudgy enough.