Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Zedel abides... 'that' perfect West End restaurant has arrived - Aug 2012

When I was a young West Ender, a posh night out ended up in the familiar confines of Joe Allen. Slightly dirtier ones usually found you gurning round a four top in Balans or playing pinball up the rickety staircase of Bar Italia. You'd gone very wrong if you wound up in Shuttleworths... I was a little young for the Atlantic, that louche, debauched bacchanal under the old Regent Palace Hotel. It's to that space that we head tonight, now home to the newly launched Brasserie Zedel.

It's not an expensive joint. And that's an understatement. Three courses for three people, coffee, wine and service clocked in at £90, phenomenal value given the quality. If this was a vanity project by new restaurateurs, you'd laugh at the prices and imaginging the rows with accountants, vowing to get as much grub down your neck as you could before they whacked the prices up. It's not though, it's the latest venture by two of the biggest restaurant thoroughbreds this country has produced, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. If the brains behind The Wolesley and The Ivy think that this is the way the industry should price, prepare for the cutting of some prices or the sharpening of some knives...

Bright, airy, tall and gilded. Even though you're in a basement, the whole experience is like being thrust into an Art Deco inspired cruise ship for the night. You could dress up to match if you want to but if you don't really want I can't see that anyone would mind.

The menu reads like a 'Best of France - Bourgouis edition' cookbook from the 70's, in a really good way. Hefty, non sharing, mains are generally under a tenner, soups are less than three quid and other starters swirl the heady heights of a fiver. Substantial plated salads and big slabs of pâté are consumed with gusto while I chow down on escargot as garlically exotic as you remember from that first school trip to France as a 12 year old.

Steak hache is made on site, a triumphantly large patty of the trimmings from proper cuts of beef, a tartare burger if you will. It was a little too solid in the construction but really well flavoured, coming with an inclusive metal cone of proper French fries (another pet hate of expensive places, the sides that should go with the dish should NOT be added chargable extras) and lashings of pepercorn sauce for £8.75.

If the profiteroles were a tad over baked, it only served to highlight that these weren't perfectly pre-prepared, plumped generic pap but homemade and fresh from the subterranean bakery that had been responsible for an excellent (free) bread basket earlier.

Arriving in London today, you couldn't ask for a better catch all recommendation than Zedel, it's there for groups of friends, good for serious foodies glomming at the novelty value, perfect for a classy date and suitable for clients and parents without any of them thinking you're skimping.

I hate to end the review by keeping coming back to it, but i still can't understand why they're charging so little for this food. Sure it's what you'd expect to pay in a provincial French brasserie but this is a newly and expensively renovated spot on Picadilly Circus. They must really hate their accountant, or the rest of the industry...

Brasserie Zedel on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

1 comment:

  1. How do they do it so cheap? The rent can't be, given its location. Baffling (in a good way).