Review: How Balls Brothers found its feminine side

Midweek drinking is frowned upon (apparently) but dress it up with a masterclass and some excellent seafood and it’s quite alright

In the looming shadow of 1 St Mary Axe, aka the Gherkin, is Balls Brothers Bury Court.

Once a classic example of old boys’ City dining, this rather grand leather and tiles establishment has been serving steak and seafood to hungry finance types since 2005.

But times have changed, and so has Balls Brothers Bury Court.

A refurbishment has helped it find its creative side for starters. Trendy subway tiling, gilded mirrors and macabre prints now adorn the walls – as well as detailed maps of a bygone London.

A woman’s touch has been added too, both to the interiors and to the menu. Alongside the usual starters of black pudding and potted shrimp are a creamed goat’s cheese salad and a lemon crab salad.

We had the goats cheese, crab and black pudding and found all three dishes to be excellent – in particular the heavenly whipped goat’s cheese, beautifully set off by walnuts and pickled beetroot.

Talking of pickled, before sitting down to dinner, my friend and I partook in a free gin tasting masterclass – hosted by Balls Brothers but courtesy of Sipsmith gin.

Needless to say, the gins were fantastic and the rather grand high table from where we tasted them perfect for the occasion. (But if gin’s not your thing, check out the whisky and fortified wines masterclasses they do instead.)

Back to dinner – and cocktails, we couldn’t go cold turkey after the tasting after all. For our mains we shared the turmeric panko chicken and the braised pig cheeks.  

A word on those cocktails quickly, in keeping with the historic setting and bygone era map decor, Balls Brothers’ cocktail menu breaks away from London’s obsession with negronis and mimosas to provide sherry cobblers and Shakey Pete’s ginger brew. I recommend both.

But back to dinner. Something possessed me to order the chicken. (I hardly ever order chicken when I eat out – why eat ordinay chicken when you can have a steak, roast lamb or duck confit?) But we ordered chicken and it was succulent, filling and fragrant.

The pig cheeks, meanwhile, were the perfect mix of comfort and taste we needed and rounded the rather splendid evening off perfectly.  

We’ll be back.

Rebecca and her friend dined as guests at Balls Brothers Bury Court

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