great simple brunch place along high street kensington. I used to live not ten minutes from this place, and always wondered what the food was like – I think I didn’t expect it to be impressive seeing as how this was a pretty generic chain (though really my liking for food at ASK and byron really should have advised me better). but this place was fantastic, and really just the thing for a mid-morning brunch with the family. it isn’t spectacular, but it is pretty good, and wholly able to satisfy the craving for some hearty food in the morning.
my other brunch favourite is le pain quotidien – but the food there is lighter and more french, if that makes sense. the food at balans is far heartier, with an array of items on the menu such as a full english, as well as french toast. the prices are reasonable, and the servings pretty big.
my dad had two eggs [scrambled] on toast, which really arrived as described: two large slices of crusty white bread and a mound of scrambled eggs. my grandma ordered the full english, which came with scrambled eggs on toast, a fried tomato, bacon and mushrooms, as well as a sausage, baked beans and home-fried potatoes. this was a superbly hearty spread for less than a tenner (can you believe that?!) and the most surprising element were the mushrooms, which were hearty baby portobellos.
I had a bowl of oatmeal – we had been having pretty rich meals by this time and I could barely tolerate it. the oatmeal was a little smooth for my liking – I rather prefer mine chunkier and textured – but it was acceptable with honey and jam. oatmeal really is just a mass of beige – and incredibly unacceptable to photograph so you will need to imagine it. I was very tempted by the pancakes – but sometimes one must practice abstinence. let me know how it is if you ever try it!
the last plate was my mother’s breakfast – cinnamon french toast served with strawberries and bananas. I didn’t much taste the cinnamon there, and this was a rather dryer operation than I’m used to – my mum makes a mean french toast with lots of egg fried around a spongy white sice – but it went down easily enough with the syrup.
in short, a good breakfast at fantastic prices, in a simple enough cafe where the options for brunch aren’t as great as you might expect that to be. come to think of it, it would be a good way to kick off some shopping on the high street.