We love Selfridges. Fact. We can lose hours in the beauty hall and get dizzy with excitement by the arm candy on the fourth floor.
However, while the store is shopping gold, it’s rarely our first choice to eat beyond a swift nibble in the food hall. We got wind of a new menu at The Balcony and thought we’d better test it out for you, our loyal readers. Yes we are selfless.
First let’s talk interiors. The restaurant manages to blend comfort with style in a way that other places fall down. All cool greys, neutral tones and rustic crockery make for a relaxed vibe while the streaming light from the glass roof of the Bullring means you get a massive hit of vitamin D while you dine.
The cocktail list is short and sweet with lots that appealed, although more non-alcoholic cocktails would be a welcome addition. We were heading straight for the hard stuff, so no bother. Berry Heaven with a healthy dose of gin was refreshing and not too sweet – the downfall of many cocktails. Spring Stream, also gin based (Prairie organic), was nicely balanced with bitter notes and camomile tea providing freshness.
Almost everything on the new menu screamed ‘eat me’, varying from a virtuous superfood salad to classics like champagne fish and chips and steak frites. I backed a winner with a punchy pea and ham terrine starter that was rich and smooth – almost like a foie gras texture – served with an unctuous blob of vibrant green sweet pea puree and warm fresh bread. Undoubtedly the star of the show. Watercress soup was tasty too, but overshadowed by the terrine’s brilliance.
Salmon fishcakes tasted great with a big handful of dill, a crunchy outer served with a fantastic tartare sauce. However, we’d have liked plenty more fish and less potato. Sea bream with greens was super light and fresh while a side order of fries revealed the best chips/fries we’ve eaten in Brum.
Oreo cheesecake did what it said on the tin – rich, creamy and Oreo-like in flavour served with a sharp sorbet that balanced the cream-fest nicely. A lemon tart with vanilla Chantilly cream was delicious with a zingy freshness, great pastry and a crunchy burnt sugar top.
All in all, we reckon The Balcony is a winner. It’s comfortable, lively, the food’s good – excellent in places – and the drinks are delicious. We also managed to circumnavigate Stella McCartney on the way home without splurging. Success.