In a million years we probably wouldn’t have met. In a city of 10 million+ people the likelihood was even slimmer. And yet our lives have converged thanks to the “faceless screens” of the internet.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Balcon but my (very many) thoughts on Saturday morning eggs benedict and champagne are only ever my own.
Of course, I’m talking about the one and only Sir Aftab of Fresh and Fearless. Most recently our adventures took us to a Parisian corner of Pall Mall.
We nipped into The Balcon on a sunny weekend morning, ready after a long week for a spot of breakfast elegance. We were reviewing the two course brunch, a delectable feast of breakfast proportions featuring a savoury and sweet selection, alongside a glass of celebratory champagne, a personalised Bloody Mary and selection of fresh pastries.
Seated to the relaxing strains of Fat Freddy’s Drop (my favourite New Zealand funk band – the last time I accidentally heard their melodic groove was in a Lisbon town square – a city that Aftab has just been exploring) we settled into our corner table, perfect for people watching.
Nibbling on fresh bread and sipping our flutes of champagne, to say we were undecided was an understatement. Flipping between the corn and halloumi fritters, the Yorkshire Longhorn sirloin steak and smoked mackerel, roasted tomato and Kipper potato omelette with aioli; (in fact Aftab counted that we made our way through 4 different waiters before settling on our choices. Oops).
I was intrigued by their ‘chunky ham eggs Benedict’ a hearty yet hale smoky twist on my favourite – served with perfectly poached eggs and a featherlight muffin, and Mr Fresh got all DIY ordering poached eggs on sourdough toast, with a side of slow roasted tomatoes and grilled halloumi. Best of all? He shared a slice of his halloumi – honestly, this is the real reason as to why we’re friends.
Espying the dedicated Bloody Mary station, we were intrigued to see an array of goodies laid out for personalising the breakfast cocktail (including bacon strips!) but we decided to order a second glass of champagne instead. You may need to strip me of my brunch credentials, and I’m ok with that.
We had the same attack of indecision when it came to choosing our sweet – everything sounded scrumptious, so we put it to our waiter to cure the indecisiveness. Eventually selecting the Brioche French toast, with mixed berry compote and lashings of lemon curd, I was fully confident in having picked the best dish…
…until my generous friend allowed me to slip the tines of my fork in his Pistachio waffle. Light, flavourful and rather unusual, the strawberry salad and Sauternes cream were perfect counterpoints. I may or may not have distracted him with a cry of “look at those shoes!” to sneak another bite or two. Just don’t tell him, ok?
Of course no brunch would be complete without the plates swooping through the air and across the cutlery for a close-up.
Because we are bloggers, dedicated to our art and only slightly distracted by men in top hats.
The restaurant is all graceful curves and fluted arches, a perfect setting for celebrating something special. Like reaching Saturday at the end of a busy week. Or so we told ourselves.
Leading to the opulent foyer of the adjacent Sotifel hotel next door we were enjoying ourselves so thoroughly, that 3 hours simply flashed past.
Invent a reason (or perhaps a million, we won’t judge) for a delectable morning at The Balcon (the waiters don’t lose patience with you, even when you can’t stop talking long enough to choose a dish).