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. 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 considerably less than vital, and prices are not at all budget, especially given the quality on offer. Other outlets are located in Kensington (Balans Soho Society), Chiswick, Shepherd's Bush (Westfield shopping mall) and Stratford in east London (the other Westfield mall). The latest addition to the Balans line, the 24-hour Soho Café (aka brand name Balans Soho Society), reopened on 1 October 2015 at 34 Old Compton St — a one-minute walk from this Soho mothership. In its 1990s heyday this establishment was Old Compton Cafe. As of 2014 Balans closed its outlet in former gay ghetto Earls Court. This particular Balans is due for refurbishment in 2016.