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Buzzy gay brasserie
The most recognized name in casual high-definition-gay dining, Balans caters to carnivores and vegetarians with a one-of-each-style international menu at this and other branches in Kensington, Chiswick, Shepherd's Bush (Westfield shopping mall), and Stratford in east London (the other Westfield mall), with a smaller café operating round-the-clock at 34 Old Compton St — a one-minute walk from this Soho mothership. It's a very lively establishment and comfortingly gay, especially for first-time visitors, with an open front conveniently looking onto Soho catwalk Old Compton St. However, the 'cooking' is less than vital, and prices are not at all budget, especially considering the quality. As of 2014 Balans closed its outlet in former gay ghetto Earls Court.