I think we’ve arrived at Balans at the wrong two o’clock. Like we should be at the one where Soho picks up speed to a neon blur of wipe clean clothing fabrics, not the daylight one we are in of tourists who wouldn’t know what day drinking was if they were sat in the Devonshire having Guiness passed to them. It just feels like a place to get naughty in; a kind of cheekily debauched spot to while down the last of twilight with a good fill, maybe loitering around until breakfast service.

Even now, post meridian, the first thing we’re asked is if we’d like a Bloody Mary. Be rude not to. But we don’t. We get an old fashioned that feels like 100ml of bourbon and token else, and their take on a pornstar martini which is bright and boozy and comes with a measure of Moet. Then some vino verde, along with an order of one dish each from the small plate and the larger plates.

All four dishes arrive together, with an educated guess required to work out which parts of the menu they are from. They are all large, ranging from filling to never-going-to-finish-this in size. There’s a bowl of cauliflower risotto with walnut pesto and parsnip crisps, the only clue it’s vegan being the funk of the dairy alternative. The cook on the rice is spot on and for £12 it’s a meal in itself. There is squid ink linguine with squid, in a lively sauce of preserved lemon, tomato, fennel, and bottarga. It’s a bowl of light and shade that is successful in it’s delivery.

I’ve not fully recovered from the pork donut. I’m not sure you ever fully do. A halved glazed ring donut filled with bbq pulled pork and crackling. It’s the bagel for the pissed, the cure for the stinging hangover which would be in place some twenty-two hours later. I don’t touch the fries it’s with and struggle to make an indentation into the quesadillas. From the memory I do have of them, they are good, if maybe not as memorable as the pile of pig in the donut. The are oozing with cheese, just how they should be.

There is no room for dessert. Truth is there is no room for over half the food ordered. Or no room left in my suit jacket for that matter. Balans is one of Soho’s oldest establishments; a bastion of that old school when times were that bit seedier and carefree. The food isn’t refined but nor does it intend to be. It knows exactly what it is and what it does, at whatever time of the day or night.