Tuesday, 2 October 2012
The latest new arrival from famed restaurateurs Corbin and King is causing a bit of a stir among the foodie fraternity. This bold brash humongous brasserie has had some very decent reviews as well.
Of interest to most, and that includes the rich as well as the poor, is the somewhat bargain basement pricing. For any part of the land especially given the lavish decor, some of the pricing is a bit breathtaking. However this is London or to be more specific bang slap Central London. Which makes some of the pricing a downright steal.
I don't know the history of the building, but it has the appearance of an old theatre or a later cinema. I have however been here before, but not in its present form. In the mid nineties Oliver Peyton opened the then very hot Atlantic Bar and Grill. Thinking back I can't remember any food but I recall bumping in to a friend from my home town (not London) and that it was packed. Its had a fortune spent on it again since then and a member of staff declared that the building is owned by The Crown and that the gold leaf adornment alone cost in the region of £750k.
Marble and faux marble sit side by side, but only a trained eye would spot the difference (some of it is wallpaper). The huge expanse of wood looks like oak and highly ornate mirrors are everywhere bouncing light throughout the room.
On our Sunday lunchtime visit nearly all of the tables were taken. When I phoned on Sunday morning to book I was told they were not taking anymore bookings for that day but they were accepting walk ins with little or no waiting time involved. We were seated straight away.
The menu is full of comforting food at low low prices, twenty entrees, six poissons, eight viandes, three choucroute, four fromages, twelve desserts, side dishes, one formule, one prix fixe and a plat du jour.The prix fixe has to be one of the cheapest in London, two courses for £8.75 or an extra £2.50 for the dessert.
Bread was decent. They have a bread station by the entrance and I was tempted to ask the operative how many loaves he sliced during his shift, hundreds no doubt.
The beauty about a brasserie is that there are no set rules as such. No one expects you to have a three course meal. You can pop in for a coffee and cake or hit the menu in any fashion you wish.
A table of three money conscious young ladies to my left had a veritable feast served to them. A multitude of dishes (none of them main courses) which I suspect averaged out at about £4.50 per dish. They were having a ball for not a lot of money.
We got off to a very good start. I ordered Soupe de Poisson (£4.25)
Boy did this have great depth of flavour. Whenever we go to the South of France I try to sample a variety of fish soups and believe me this was as good as a lot from that region. Rich and thick this really is a meal in itself. I was sorry to reach the bottom of the bowl. You could pay twice the price elsewhere for a soup of this quality.
My wife chose the Filets of Herring (£3.75)
What a nice dish this was. Again great flavours. Zingy, especially so between spoonfuls of soup. if you go order this dish, we both enjoyed it equally.
My wife liked the look of the Cuisse Grenouile (frogs legs £7.75)
More her than me. It was just like eating rather bland chicken. The butch soup helped the dish along. Although not a dish I would go out of my way to order again.
I have had a couple of confit duck dishes in recent weeks so another one seemed to be in order. Confit de Canard (£9.95)
Yes, well a perfectly good eat, crispy exterior, moist inner. Good flavour and well seasoned, and again real bargain basement pricing.
The Couscous (£12.75) was the other main which we chose. The couscous itself was moist and spicy with a bit of a chilli kick, and had decent flavor. The lamb kebab was slightly overcooked for me in particular. It was padded out with offal (liver) which inevitably was a bit on the dense side due to the aforementioned. Again the spicy Merguez sausage could have done with a little less cooking.
The side dish of Epinards (spinach £2.50) was virtually cold when it arrived at the table. It was instantly whisked away and a fresh one arrived in a minute flat. How's that for service.
As is the norm here the desserts are as cheap as chips but even we could not manage two. So we shared a fantastic Ile Flottante ( floating island £2.75)
Boy, this was gorgeous. The brittle crunchy caramel gave way to the lightest fluffiest meringue. The moat of custard disappeared almost as quickly as the crumbling fortress. A truly delightful dessert for peanuts money.
In keeping with the food pricing, the drinks list allows you to sample the wine by glass (125ml), pichet (250ml) or bottle size. Prices start at an almost laughable £3 per glass or £5.30 for a glass of fizz.We had a pichet of one of the house reds and a pint of Meteor which was fine for me.
Our bill with food, drink as stated, and service was £60 which for anywhere with this quality dining experience is a real bargain.
Even though some of the dishes were not top notch it feels a little mean to criticise because we wholeheartedly enjoyed Zedel, and hand on heart it is one of the few brasseries we would have no hesitation in returning to.
Its a big recommend.