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Review: Brasserie Zedel, Soho

Zee garlic snails

Zee garlic snails

Everyone knows Brasserie Zedel, right? Everyone in London, anyway. This review is probably more useful to you rustic provincials. You know who you are. Folks for whom the centre of London is somewhere around Picadilly Circus or Leicester Square, because that’s where you invariably pop up out of the tube on those odd occasions when some special event draws you down to the city. Welcome! Welcome! I was a rustic provincial myself until last year. Now, let me tell you about the most reliable place for a great bite to eat.

Because Brasserie Zedel is quite literally spitting distance from Picadilly Circus. Easily missed as it’s not much more than a door at street level. From where you descend down a flight of stairs and emerge in some kind of subterranean timewarp fantasy where you have been whisked back to the Parisienne golden age of the early 20th century, with an American Bar for cocktails and then, through a pair of swinging doors, into the vast cathedral of the grand brasserie.

Zee vrai andouillette

Zee vrai andouillette

There is enough glass and gilt here to make Marie Antoinette blink. And it rattles to the buzz of a thousand or so people happily conversing and masticating at tables and on red velvet banquettes. And of course the food is pure unadulterated French and pinpoint accurate.

Have a plate of garlic snails to start with. Plenty of crusty bread to soak up all that garlic and parsley butter. Then if you are brave, move onto a fine big beige lumpen andouillette sausage. Sitting there on the plate, bathed in mustard sauce, leaking foul juices and reeking of offal. Er… am I tempting you? Trust me, it’s good. Just don’t expect to be kissing anyone for a day or two. If that’s too alarming, how about the rognons de veau? Veal kidneys to you. Cooked to iron-y perfection. And obviously if you don’t love offal then there’s beef bourguignon and steak and all the rest. After all that, it has to be Iles Flotante for pud.

You might pay £30 for three courses, so it’s no bargain basement bistro. But the surroundings are wonderful, the food is (whisper it) better than much you’ll find in France, and it couldn’t be more convenient for a night out at the theatre.

Zee Brasserie Zedel

Zee Brasserie Zedel

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