Brasserie Zedel is a “grand Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London” by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (owners of The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Cafe Colbert). Being big fans of both, my gentleman companion and I were excited to be attending the first ever dinner service during their soft launch.
Situated just off Piccadilly Circus and tucked behind Soho it has a great location. We entered through the tiny ground level cafe and were told to walk down to the basement. Only then did we realise the enormity of this place. There is a large reception area from which you access the brasserie, the Crazy Coqs cabaret room and Bar Amaericain. This place felt like The Fun House – I half expected to see Pat Sharp whiz past on a go kart. It was so exciting – there was so much to see and do and we hadn’t even entered the restaurant.
We left our coats in the reception area and were then shown to our table. The restaurant is jaw dropping – we were gob smacked. It was absolutely stunning – and huge. Anyone opening a restaurant of this magnitude in a recession is beyond brave – but if anyone can do it those two can. There are large “windows” either side of this underground restaurant with lights that are controlled to match the brightness outside – so when we arrived it was very bright (almost too bright) and when we left it was much darker which gave it a more romantic feel. My gentleman companion said it reminded him of Las Vegas.
The menu was in French (the English version wasn’t ready yet but is usually available on request) so our very charming and conveniently French waiter kindly translated all starters and desserts for us.
As he translated cuisses de grenouille (frogs legs) I let out an excited yelp as I’ve always wanted to try these. Everything seems to be served on branded plates which is a nice touch. The meat was moist and the spinach and garlic puree was sweet and full of flavour. Little garlic crisps were sticky and chewy which gave texture.
My gentleman companion ordered oeufs dur mayonnaise (egg mayonnaise) and priced at £2.75 it is insanely cheap. It was presented beautifully and the tangy mayonnaise was the perfect contrast to the egg.
Now would be a good time to comment on how cheap Brasserie Zedel is. There’s eight starters that are below £4 and the most expensive starter being parfait de foi gras is just £8.75. Main courses range from £10-£15 which seems amazing value for such a grand setting.
My main of confit du canard, pommes saute a l’ail which is duck leg confit with garlic potatoes (£9.95) was delicious. The sauce was sweet and the potatoes were thinly sliced and crispy on the outside. The duck was slightly overcooked making the outside meat dry but I’m sure this was simply first night nerves.
A side of green beans were simply boiled and finished with butter and sprinkled with salt. All side are just £2.50.
My gentleman companion’s boeuf bourguignon which is braised beef with red wine (£9.75) was served with creamy mash potato. The chunks of beef were tender and the sauce was rich. Both dishes were simple yet ticked all the boxes in terms of presentation, flavour and price.
Desserts followed the same pattern. My profiteroles au chocolat chaud (£4.50) were to die for. A vanilla parfait filled the choux pastry balls which were light and airy. The chocolate sauce served in separate jug was thick and ‘mmmm’ inducing.
My gentleman companion’s millefeuille a la vanille (£3.50) was scrumptious. The desserts had the perfect balance between being sweet and not too dense and heavy.
All the staff we dealt with were friendly and charming. They had answers to all of our questions – they were clearly well prepared and gave the illusion that Zedel had been open for months. To top off our meal, Jeremy King who was wandering from table to table, checked to see if we’d enjoyed our dinner.
The food here is simple yet delicious and the surroundings are incredible. I’m already thinking about what I will eat when we return – and we’d be mad not to as it’s cheap as frites.