A contemporary bar that’s clearly part of a chain, Balls Brothers Victoria is a pleasant place to grab a drink after a long day in the office.
Balls Brothers Victoria is a decent-sized venue with two bar areas and outdoor seating in the warmer months. Dominating a corner on Buckingham Palace Road there are plenty of windows, which allow light to flood the bar. Although airy and comfortable, it is on the cold side with polished floors, lots of neutral and cream colours and a few paintings with a wine theme. Some high stools at the bar and a collection of simple wooden tables and chairs take care of the rest and you’re left with a decent enough chain bar.
From 5.30pm onwards Balls Brother Victoria gradually fills up and gets very busy during the post-work rush on Thursdays and Fridays. The majority of the clientele are suited and booted local office workers and the atmosphere is suitably upbeat and happy as people look forward to the weekend ahead. The staff are efficient at dealing with a busy bar and you don’t have to wait too long to get a drink, although you may need to be prepared to elbow your way to the front.
Given the quality of the menu and the well-thought out dishes, the prices are reasonable. Dishes change regularly but choices include meals like smoked haddock and vegetable fricassee with a chive sauce (£12.50) or oak smoked Scottish salmon, lemon and black pepper (£8.50). The best dishes for an evening drinking session are the platters (£12.50-£15) or grazing dishes (£5 each, 3 for £14 or 6 for £26) offering choices like marinated goat’s cheese, basil and sun-dried tomato skewers, half-dozen quail eggs and globe artichokes wrapped in cured ham. Similar dishes are also available at lunchtimes at the same price point.
The drink menu at Balls Brothers Victoria is geared up around the wine selection, which offers a fine choice of bottles divided by region at prices to suit most budgets, ranging from below £20 to over £40. Of course, champagne makes a big appearance with everything from Veuve Clicquot to Louis Roederer, with a good option of half bottles on some of the selections – times are hard, after all. The spirits menu is a little disappointing, seeming to omit some of the premium brands, although all of the standard quality high street names are offered (Tanqueray, Jack Daniels, Grey Goose). The beer is bottled and again covers the main commercial bases.
The Last Word
Balls Brothers Victoria isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel but it’s a perfectly acceptable after work watering hole, catering to the needs of its main clientele well.