The Balcon has announced that Simon Woodrow has officially joined the Sofitel London St James, as Restaurant Head Chef. Simon has established himself on the London culinary scene as one of the most talented and creative Head Chefs in the capital.
Simon’s career took off when he joined Michelin-starred and award-winning chef Anthony Demetre’s Arbutus Restaurant in 2010, where he progressed from Demi Chef de partie to Senior Sous Chef over three and a half years.
As the culinary team embarks on this new and exciting journey, Simon’s experience and knowledge of London dining scene is a key asset for the success of The Balcon restaurant concept and we were delighted to experience his new autumn menu.
Sofitel London St James is on Waterloo Place on the corner of Pall Mall, close to the internationally recognised landmarks of Trafalgar Square and Regent Street. The 125,000 sq ft. Grade II listed building, owned by the Crown Estate represents one of the most prestigious hotel addresses in London.
Located within the hotel, The Balcon, a grade II listed 100 cover brasserie that is located in the prime location in London’s West End has its own street facing entrance and is situated on 8 Pall Mall.
The restaurant is intricately designed with double height ceilings and majestic columns set with gilt and marble, oak and ebony banded wooden flooring, a bespoke finely weaved wire chandelier, tan leather and mahogany dining chairs with resin-topped tables, foxed glass mirrors and arched windows reaching to the ceiling.
We were very excited to be invited back to The Balcon to sample head chef Simon Woodrow’s new menu. The Balcon is a favourite and with such opulent surroundings and delightful service its easy to know why. We took our time to explore the new menu and take in our new surroundings.
We started with the foie gras ballotine with sourdough, fig, pomegranate and Marcona almonds. The dish worked really well with rough and smooth textures and the foie gras had a typical rich, buttery, and delicate flavour that made the dish mouthwatering.
We were recommended the grilled Scottish scallop with chorizo, sweet corn, tarragon and hazelnut crumbs. This dish didn’t disappoint. The subtle flavour of the sweetcorn and scallop was given a smoky but not overpowering kick by the chorizo.
For the main event we tried the grilled Yorkshire beef fillet with foie gras and truffle sauce. The beef was perfectly cooked as ordered and it was nice to try a different style of foie gras, this time pan fried which was smooth and melted in our mouths.
The addition of the pan seared foie gras and the mouthwatering truffle sauce took the already delectable dish to the next level.
The grilled Welsh lamb Barnsley chop was tender and juicy with mint and sweet garlic jus. The double sided chop was more than enough to satisfy even the hungriest of appetites yet was still juicy and tender thanks to the naturally sweet fat complimented by the sweet garlic and mint flavours.
We couldn’t resist trying the Raspberry soufflé with white chocolate ice cream from the dessert menu. It was light and fluffy with beautiful berry flavours. Its no wonder this dish came so highly recommended by our friendly French waiter.
We were given a treat from the festive menu. The Christmas toffee pudding with pecan praliné, crème d’Isigny was a mix of toffee sauce and sticky Christmas pudding. Its the perfect way to bring in the festive season.
The Bûche de Noël takes a French tradition and brings it bang up to date. Simon Woodrow has added his own distinctive twist to this classic Christmas dessert by lightening the usually heavy cake and cream concoction with the light and airy mousse surrounding a delicate clementine Jelly studded with segments of fresh citrus fruit.
The Balcon at Sofitel London St James
8 Pall Mall London SW1Y 5NG
+44 (0)207 968 2900