Brasserie Zedel – Paris style and low prices in the heart of London

Jul 16, 2012

The team behind the Wolseley have launched a nostalgic but excitingly cheap new venture

What you need to know
Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, the restaurateurs behind The Wolseley and The Delaunay, have opened a new restaurant at 20 Sherwood Street, just off Piccadilly Circus. Brasserie Zedel aims to transport the atmosphere of old-world Parisian dining to West End London.

The food is traditional French fare such as confit de canard, escargots, pissaladière and steak haché with sauce au poivre, but at very reasonable prices for London. Starters are priced from £2.25, mains from £7.75.

The Brasserie is just one of four offerings in the Zedel space. There's also a bar, informal café and jazz club. The refurbished Art Deco interior (formally The Grill Room of the Regent Palace Hotel) comes complete with gold leaf, timber veneer, marble and brass.

What the critics like
The food is excitingly cheap, says Fay Maschler in the Evening Standard. Dishes cost less than high-street chain prices but come with "predominantly correct preparation, educated formal service, pretty customised china". Perhaps even more thrilling is the Prix Fixe, at £11.25, including steak haché, carottes rapées, coffee and chocolate friandises, "perfectly judged". At Zedel you will eat better "than in comparable establishments in Paris".

The menu is so nostalgically French you expect to find Charles Aznavour in the bar, weeping as Edith Piaf passes him the pastis, says Guy Diamond in Time Out.  Main courses are highlights, such as the choucroute Alsacienne, a big heap of finely shredded sauerkraut served with hunks of salted pork, charcuterie and sausages "that would put a smile on the face of a Strasbourg eurocrat". And with prices that would have seemed reasonable ten years ago, "this is the sort of retro experience we can all afford to relish".

Brasserie Zédel is undeniably staggering, says Tim Heyward in The Financial Times - "huge columns with gilt finials [and] enough banquettes to park the demi-monde of a small city." The prices are almost "indecently reasonable", and the food was really very good for what it was. The room is "a revelation".

What they don't like
There seems to be an intrinsic problem with Zedel, say Richard and Peter Harden on Hardens. "We're not sure that there's a place in the market for a large establishment that's too grand to be truly cheap, and too cheap to be truly grand." Some of the food was good and reasonable, other dishes not so. But there's so much care gone into this brave concept, and these are early days.

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