I’m a sucker for a party, for glamour and glitz. Deck something with streamers, put up the glitter ball and the bunting and I’ll be there. My favourite places of all are glam restaurants, here you can sit and watch people come and go, check out what they’re wearing, what they are eating, who they’re with and, sometimes, listen to tantalising snippets of conversation.
I could eat every meal in a restaurant. Well almost every meal, with one proviso I would have to be able to order vegetables. It’s veg that I most miss when travelling in Europe. One of life’s paradoxes is that the countries with the most beautiful markets: Italy, France, Spain, seldom serve the produce in their restaurants and cafes. I once asked whether vegetables would be served with my meal in a smart eatery in Provence and was assured that the main course would come with three different veg. Indeed it did, though potatoes, lentils and berlotti beans were not what I had hoped for, even the cliche of ratatouille would have been more welcome.
In France I usually get round this issue by ordering cruditee which link I hope gets me back to Piccadilly and the newly opened Brasserie Zedel.
This is the latest in the Corbin and King stable, a restaurant with budget prices but with all the C&K touches like excellent service and beautiful surroundings. Zedel is the name of a vintage car so seamlessly and subtly linking this brasserie with the hugely famous Wolsey.
Having eaten many times at the Wolsey I have come to love the predictability of it. This in my book is a good thing, I don’t usually want to be surprised when I’m eating out. There are naturally occasions when you look for the new, the cutting edge and the avant guard but there are many more occasions in my life where I want good food, expertly and quietly served and at a price that seems commensurate with the meal. The Wolsey has never failed me so it was with some excitement I lunched at Zedel last week.
The brasserie sits in a marble columned, glossily, golden room with a huge mirrored bar. Black clad waiting staff scurry around like ants, which as the restaurant is two floors below ground is somehow apposite.
Tables and banquettes are divided by brass rails and there is a buzzy vibrance about the place. It has the feel of La Coupole in it’s better days and later I found that the restaurant manager was indeed once at that Parisian birthplace of brasserie eating.
The menu is extensive and French in style. It is, much as one imagines a Zedel to be,not old fashioned but vintage. It reminded me of when, as a student nurse, I would visit my sister in Paris and eat the Menu Fixe or the plat du jour at any one of a hundred such places.
So with those days in mind I chose the Price Fixe menu and my husband had the dish of the day, a fish stew.
The Prix Fixe is carottes rapee, steak hache with frites and a coffee served with a warm pistachio cake. This costs £11.25……I’m close to Piccadilly and can eat lunch and get change from £12! But most importantly it was good, the steak hache was perfectly cooked, the carrot salad well made and well seasoned and the warm nut cake a perfect petit desert with a hot strong coffee.
My husband’s fish dish was good too, a fragrant creamy broth with haddock, salmon, clams and mussels. There was no extra charge for bread, no cover charge either, just good honest food served in the Corbin and King way. And it’s all so glamourous. I felt I needed high heel shoes and a bright red lipstick. The only piece of nostalgia missing is the smell of Gitaines but I guess you can’t have everything.
I’m having lunch there again this week.
The photo below don’t do justice to the food so you’ll just have to go along and see for yourselves.