All reader reviews by James

Balans (Soho)

Rather like the neighbourhood it sits in, you'll either love Balans or loathe it, as the contradictory trend of the other reviews seems to suggest. Eating here is a full-on sensory onslaught, and it probably won't be your tastebuds bearing the brunt of the assault. The food is good, no more, no less, but the frenzied atmosphere and the enigmatic characters are what makes Balans such a good night out.

If you're looking for a gastronome's paradise, a romantic meal for two where your date won't be making eyes at the waiter, or if you disapprove of the Liberal Democrats, stay well away. For a boozy evening with a taste of South Beach here in Central London though, head to Balans.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 6

La Porchetta (Islington)

Great pizza on a budget, though the service can be slightly idiosyncratic at times. The prevalence of over-loud Italian pop music could prove rather irritating to those non-connoseiurs of the Roman hit parade who fancy a calzone on a Saturday afternoon, but the generous portions and tasty dough are probably worth the aural ordeal. Takeaway alleviates the possibility of an ear-pounding, but at the price of the great people watching opportunities afforded by the window onto Upper Street.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7

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