Restaurant: The Balcon, at Sofitel St James Hotel
Where is it: Pall Mall
Opened: October 2011, the restaurant is an old go-to in the Piccadilly area, but this year they’ve launched a new De-Light menu, which claims to dish up a three-course menu at under 500 – we had to try it.
What kind of food: Low-calorie yet gourmet, French-inspired dishes which are low in fat but high in flavour.
Who goes: Anyone on a health kick or who is looking for an indulgent but light dining experience.
The interiors: A modern take on the classic French brassiere design with leather booths, contemporary chandeliers and an impressive wooden spiral staircase.
We tried: To start we had lamb’s lettuce and endive salad with beetroot, pear and quail egg (45 kcal) and salmon tartare with chives cream (145 kcal). For main, braised supreme of cockerel in mustard broth with steamed snow peas (240kcal) and salmon fillet, vierge sauce and seaweed condiment (320 kcal). Followed by honey fried apple and orange cream (125kcal) for a not-so-naughty dessert.
Hero Dishes: The main courses, braised cockerel and salmon fillet, were the stars of the low-calorie show - healthy but delectable we could hardly believe it was (almost) guilt-free dining.
Anything unusual: Even though the calories are extremely low, the food was taste personified and exquisite in presentation. Cooking techniques such as roasting, steaming and poaching are put to clever use.
And the drinks: We shared a bottle of white wine, which definitely pushed our meal over 500 calories! But there’s always sparkling water should you want to stay really strict.
What to wear: Smart-casual for daytime, LBD come dusk – the Parisian-style restaurant is located in a luxury 5-star hotel so it’s a great excuse to throw on a pair of heels and dress up a little.
Best for: Anyone wanting to stick to their New Year’s resolution of healthy eating, but doesn’t want to compromise their social life.