Brasserie Zédel: where you get what you pay for (in a really cool place)

There were three major reasons why I needed to try Brasserie Zedel. 
     - One, I love French food and this new kid in town has been gathering buzz. My curiosity was starving.
     - Two, Our wedding planners reminded me to create ‘pegs’ and my mood board has been bare since the engagement. I have quite a thing for art deco and the roaring twenties and reviews on the restaurant reminded me of The Great Gatsby (the book and Miuccia Prada’s costume designs in the film). Must check for inspiration.
     - Three, my best friend from Bournemouth C flew in from Berlin and I forgot to make reservations. This basement restaurant seats over 200… surely we were meant to find a spot.

The restaurant is a basement brasserie project from the restaurateurs behind The Delaunay & The Wolesley.  The entrance looks like a vintage café leading to a hall adorned with old school French ads, posters, and photos of jazz and blues artists.

Here’s one of my favourites…
Downstairs, you’d find a big foyer with entrances to The Crazy Coqs (a cabaret and jazz performance venue) and Bar Américain (a classic American cocktail bar). 
I couldn’t help but feel super excited. it felt like we were in old school Paris and, as I was with mein kaffeekumpel, we couldn’t help but feel rather like new generation flapper girls who are up for a night of debauchery (of course, we were well behaved). Just like the old days at BU
We headed straight to the restaurant and our jaws dropped. The place was massively glam. I kid you not, it’s possibly the biggest restaurant I’ve seen in the city (that does not do buffet menus). 
We didn’t have reservations but they accommodated us at the bar. We were greeted by really nice and friendly servers and a basket of complimentary bread.
The menu looked promising, with lots of French brasserie favourites at ridiculously low prices. There were a few entrées that were cheaper than their counterparts in food chains or priced similarly to sides in bigger restaurants. There were a few mains cheaper than a burger here or a cocktail there. Hmmm. Was there a catch? 

C wanted to go for the formule menu, a three-course meal priced at £19.75. I wanted to opt for something else, but I decided to go for the same. Our first course was the salad d’endives. You know I love cheese, so I thoroughly enjoyed the blobs of pungent roquefort which I thought was of good age. The candied walnuts balanced the bitterness of the chicory and the acidity of the cheese. Such a simple dish, but a good start to the meal.

Of course we had to take the requisite reunion shot…
Happy punters
C’s main was a classic beef bourguignon which came with a side of fluffy mash. The beef is tender and the veg is cooked nicely. It’s warming and hearty, and there’s some kind of depth in flavour there. Plating-wise, it looked like something that came from your nan’s kitchen but taste-wise, your nan’s is probably better. 

I opted for the salmon fillet, which was quite substantial in size but about 40 seconds overcooked for my liking. It was a bit underseasoned, too. The artichoke puree nor the dressing didn’t do much for me either. But it was cheap and filling and reminiscent of the first few times I tried to cook. Passable. But maybe I’ll try something else next time.

We had some honeycomb and vanilla ice cream, plus a berry sorbet for dessert. It was nice to have ice cream by the bar until about five spoonfuls later and our sugar levels were on an all time hight. We needed some bitter coffee to counteract the sweetness but realised we weren’t served ours yet.

We were waiting for quite a while.

A server apologised profusely and offered to give us two cafetieres of fresh brew for making us wait. We declined, although after I had a sip of my cup I kind of regretted it as the brew was bold and beautiful.

Those petit fours were quite a treat, too.

After dinner, we hung out some more upstairs, watching people down the foyer making their way to either of the entrances. I pondered about the experience and I kind of get the hype. The prices were cheap but the ambience makes you own a million pounds more. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with the food I had (C liked his), but then again our choices were limited to a prix fixe menu (next time I’ll go a la carte). Brasserie Zedel seems to be a decent all in one night out anyway. I have a feeling it’s going to stick around. 

Ended the night with an awesome convo with C outside the restaurant about careers, future plans, Dirty Dancing and our old school antics. Some of you may know C through my previous blogs and my old Multiply page - so you probably know I have mad love for this boy. Such a shame he had to move back to Germany post uni but I’m so happy and proud he’s doing well in Berlin… and I’m so chuffed we can just bounce off each other like the old days no matter how long we’ve been apart. <3

Brasserie Zédel
20 Sherwood St, London W1F  | 020 7734 4888
Ave spend pp £30

Brasserie Zedel on Urbanspoon

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