The sun wasn’t shining for our visit to Sofitel St James’s restaurant, The Balcon, but luckily the helpful staff and calm atmosphere helped to distract from the grey day and pouring rain outside.
The Quick Lunch is a new addition to The Balcon’s daytime menu, perfect for those mid-week working lunches. It is surprisingly reasonable: 2 courses for £21, 3 courses for £25, or 3 courses with a glass of wine for £30. The menu caters well for a range of dietary types with a vegetarian, fish, and meat option available for both starter and main courses (vegans would find it a bit harder).
The spiced butternut salad was delicious, combining soft spices with sweet red pepper and toasted flaked almonds. The smoked salmon starter was substantial, served with an exquisite celeriac remoulade, which was a real revelation. The whole meal was well-paired with a Viognier wine from the Baron de Rothschild vineyard.
Now on to the main courses… The rigatoni pasta combining broccolini and spinach was a very simple vegetarian option – perhaps a little less adventurous than we would like – but tasted very good nonetheless. The roast hake was enjoyably light;
The rhubarb tarte tatin was probably the highlight of the meal. The tarte was the perfect combination of sweet and sharp, served with a well-balanced creme fraiche sorbet.
The Quick Lunch menu promises you will have lunch within an hour. We were rather slow to eat our food and were enjoying the wine and atmosphere too much to hurry; but I’m sure that if you needed to be out of there quickly, the staff at The Balcon would make it happen.