Yet behind this venture are Chris Corbin and Jeremy King of Wolseley fame, so hardly jokers, and in situating this mega-brasserie in the heart of London, just behind Piccadilly Circus, they throw down a challenge to every restaurant in the West End.
Everything here seems ambitious and the Art Deco theme celebrates a period of achievement and hope, a shrinking world and a golden age of travel. It's a feast for the eyes even before you step in to the brasserie though when you eventually do, you might nevertheless want sunglasses to shield you from what must be the most liberally applied coating of gold paint outside of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. You'd never guess that this is a basement restaurant, and in any case, it's so large you might just think that the windows are too far away for you to see them.
Keeping strictly to theme, the menus are in French, and if you want one in English, you have to request it. The next surprise is just how much choice there is, something like 20 starters to choose from. The third surprise is that while I've heard the prices are low, I just assumed this was for one or two items only, but no, everything is crazy low, it's like a closing down sale, everything priced to go.
There's a Prix Fix menu at £11.25 for cucumber in a dill cream, chopped steak with French fries and coffee with mini desserts for £11.25. There's a Formule menu menu at £19.75 for three courses, including a choice of two mains and a glass of wine plus coffee for £19.75. Yet choose from the a la carte and you're not paying any more than that. An entire meal here with wine plus service costs as much as a single starter at Novikov and a lot less than a main.
With a couple of friends, we ordered a few things from the menu, most of which can be seen below. My cream of cauliflower soup was just £2.75 and was excellent. Under budget on the starter, I couldn't resist seeing what the Egg Mayonnaise on the menu (also £2.75) entailed; it was surprisingly enjoyable. Chopped salmon with cucumber (£6.50) was not loaded with salmon it has to be said, but every time we had an issue with the food, and there were a couple, we nevertheless thought about the price and shrugged. But there was never any major problems with the food and everybody enjoyed their meal with the whole experience (including friendly service) causing us all to smile from start to finish.
I can imagine so many occasions when I might be in central London, possibly with friends or family, and want to eat well without spending a fortune or visiting a chain or risk somewhere nasty etc etc, and I now know where to go. Brasserie Zedel is undoubtedly going to become one of our go to restaurants for the year ahead. I think it is an exceptional addition to the London restaurant scene, a restaurant that London deserves but seldom gets.
Return to homepage
Brasserie Zedel website