|Breakfast at Balans|
New York style dining on the Chiswick High Road
There was a time no so long ago when my husband and I would trudge along the High Road on a Sunday morning using the buggy equivalent of a Hummer to forge a path through alfresco diners enjoying a leisurely breakfast whilst actually reading the papers!
Those childless folk couldn’t possibly be happy and fulfilled we would lie to each other in a pathetic attempt to replace bare-faced envy with something more palatable as we faced the weekly prospect of controlling errant toddlers throughout mass.
Now some years on, we have finally reached the stage of not only being confident of our children’s behaviour in church, but also being able to take them out for brunch afterwards.
This particular Sunday had begun a scorcher meaning that by the time mass ended most outdoor tables on the High Road were already occupied.
Fortunately there was one free in Balans much to the delight of the children as Balans is probably the only remaining brunch menu in Chiswick they hadn’t sampled.
As buzzy as ever, the early morning crowd was lively mix of families, couples and small groups of friends basking in the sunshine.
We ordered juices for the children, coffee for the adults and glasses of water all round. Considering Balans is known for their brunches, the menu did not disappoint.
Our eldest son ordered a fruit salad which at £6.95 initially seemed a little steep but upon presentation of a plate piled with melon, blueberries and strawberries to name but a few the price tag seemed more reasonable. A fruit salad connoisseur at the tender age of nine, my son pronounced it good “But not as good as Sam’s”.
The two girls ordered one plate of blueberry pancakes accompanied by a selection of fruit (£6.95), which tasted to wonderfully authentic you could close your eyes and pretend to be in New York, and a croissant (£2.25) which again felt expensive but since it was the only thing our four year old would eat we grinned and paid it.
The adults’ decisions proved more complex – well mine did anyway. The man of the house ordered a Full Monty (£7.75) which was cooked well, was not greasy and included every item a born and bred Irish man would expect on his breakfast plate.
I chose a dish called Chorizo Eggs which was exactly what I got only the eggs just a bit too greasy and the chorizo was partially burnt. “That is exactly how is it supposed to be” I was told by my husband who curiously becomes an expert on many matters when he feels I’m about to make a fuss. That said, I did enjoy it (after removing the offending charred bits) and would even venture to give it another try.
The bill came to £42.75 including 12.5% service which had been thoroughly earned by our frantic but unfailingly charming waitress who, considering the heat did a sterling job looking after a demanding throng of diners.
Only previously having been to Balans for lunch and dinner, it was clear to see why this “New York style café” has earned a reputation for all day dining and especially for brunch. Which such a great choice – including eggs any which you can imagine – and coming in at under £10 a head, it is an experience that we are all looking forward to repeating.
June 22, 2005