Monday, 25 February 2013

Brasserie Zedel

I’ve long wanted to try Brasserie Zedel, not least because of the praising reviews I’ve read, but because I simply love the French classics and the menu just looked so reasonable – it’s been on my list for a while. I tried to get a walk-in table recently with a couple of friends on a Friday evening and failed due to the popularity and having made my way down and viewed the rather opulent looking space that was once The Regent Palace Hotel, my interest was further piqued.

I finally got to try it out one cold Thursday evening in January with my friend Jade and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Having viewed the menu online during the day I was determined to try the unbelievably priced, £11.25 set menu. However once we arrived and saw other dishes flying by I couldn’t resist trying some of the other delicious sounding dishes on the menu. I will return to try the much-lauded steak hache dish though, that is a certainty.

The brasserie area is simply huge with high ceilings and a busy, buzzing atmosphere, the constant sound of companionable chatter filled the room and it couldn’t help but put you in a good mood.

Once seated, we selected a bottle of the house Sauvignon Pays D’oc, a light, refreshing and crisp white – this helped with our decision-making.

It took a lot of deliberation over the menu, as there just wasn’t a dish on there that didn’t sound good. It’s a fairly short and simple menu, but one with lots of fantastically classic and delicious sounding dishes. Finally I selected the ham hock and parsley terrine as my ‘entrée’. Served with a basket of warm white bread, the terrine was lovely. Made up of coarse chunks of fantastically salty ham surrounded by the tell-tale jelly of a terrine. With vivid green parsley hues throughout, it was a pretty plate of food and was just as pleasing on the eye as it was on the mouth. 

Jade opted for French onion soup, which is the best I have tried in the UK for sure. Fragrant, soothing and with an almost addictive flavour, I would highly recommend this dish. And considering the location of the restaurant in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, an absolute bargain at only £2.25 a bowl. Served with cheesy croutons that were inhaled rather rapidly by Jade, we were both impressed and looking forward to the main event.

We both selected truly classic dishes, Jade the Boeuf Bourguignon, and I the Confit de Canard. The slow-cooked beef Bourguignon had the most tender, stewed beef, combined with an irresistible flavour of red wine. Served on a bed of the creamiest pureed potatoes this was a little plate of heaven – real comforting, solace food.

My confit duck was quite frankly glorious - crispy, fatty and utterly delicious at the skin, with a soft and tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat centre, that just fell straight off of the bone – an absolute sensation. The duck was served on a bed of white beans in a simple tomato sauce which made for the perfect accompaniment for the knock-out duck.

We also ordered the creamed spinach as a side and were both surprised when it arrived as it looked like a little pot of pesto, however it tasted fabulous. Buttery spinach with a hint of garlic and creamed to perfection. Each dish was served on a white plate with the signature red trim and the 'Zedel' name on which I thought was quite a nice touch too.

We couldn’t manage dessert but we were in such a good mood we couldn’t resist trying one of the Champagne cocktails to sit and enjoy the ambience of the restaurant. We both had a classic Kir Royale which was the ultimate finale to an evening of perfectly executed French food.

The service throughout the meal was faultless, our waitress was attentive, knowledgable and very patient with my French pronunciation. I have to say she was also incredibly tolerant of a very rude male couple seated beside us who were clearly after a free meal. They sat and enjoyed a full rib of beef, and after Jade and I had endured watching them both literally gnawing at the bones, at the very last bite one of the men proclaimed to have found a hair that had completely put them both off of their meal. He kicked off at the waitress and then, in turn the maitre d’ and they handled this rude pair excellently. You would think this kind of spectacle could put a dampener on the end of our meal but it simply added to our voyeuristic entertainment.

We paid around £75 including service and every penny was money well spent.

If you haven’t yet made the trip to Brasserie Zedel, make a booking now, I urge you!

Brasserie Zedel on Urbanspoon
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