Do you know what Brasserie Zedel is like? It’s like what the inside of the Titanic looked like. It’s like the grandest and most elegant of Viennese coffee houses. It’s like the bits of Midnight in Paris set in the Belle Epoque. It’s like somewhere you’d go in Berlin when you’d had your fill of the hip, funky, scruffy bars. It’s like every single tourist’s dream of what it’s really like to eat in Paris. It’s like a dark gold and red and shiny and softly-lit underground licensed womb
One, or indeed all of these may be hyperbole, or simply untrue. But do you know what Brasserie Zedel is REALLY like? It’s like the Wolseley and the Delaunay. But cheaper.
For satisfaction and brevity I’m tempted to stop there. But I won’t. Because I can’t. Because it was too good. Everything from just how damn pleasing it is to walk in and down the stairs, to the moment of entering the enormous, perfectly-laid-out dining room, to already wanting to go back to eat, drink, and general be merry in a sophisticated, continental sort of a way. I mean the Cheaper Wolseley comment in an entirely brilliant way of course – I bloody love the Wolseley but have only eaten there a couple of times due to it being ruinously expensive. Likewise the Delaunay – we had a nice time for the price that you’d expect to pay for a pretty damn fantastic time.
I don’t really know how Zedel are going to make it work, other than with a good turnover of tables and the promise that customers, like me, will look at the menu and exclaim “but it’s SO CHEAP! Let’s order 4 more dishes than we really need to!”, but god, I really hope they do.
I had a silky smooth Vichysoisse (and an extra, unnecessary starter, but lets not talk about that for reasons of greed), a monumentally massive Choucroute Garni which could have fed a family of five, and then some perfect home-made sorbet. It’s surprising I’ve got this far (and frankly surprising you’re still reading) without mentioning the drinks. Every single wine on the list is by the glass and the pichet. It’s a small, french list, with no producers mentioned, but I sort of like that here. It keeps the absolute feeling of elegance without complication which is what this does so well. My fiance had a glass of Alsacian beer for around 3 quid. They could have just done a well-poured generic French lager in a fancy glass, but this was a step further in brilliance, aromatic and full, and nicely unusual. I had a Cotes du Rhone because they had a 2011 CDR which I thought at this price would be juicy, fruity and crunchy, which indeed it was. And it felt like exactly the right wine to have at a remarkably good French brasserie for lunch on a very rainy Sunday.