I often get asked about my favourite restaurant in London, but it’s hard to pick just one name. There are many restaurants I love to go back to (even when it feels like a wasted opportunity to visit the same restaurant twice, because there is so much to experience in London’s food scene). Some restaurants are worth re-visiting though and Brasserie Zédel is one of them.
On their website, Brasserie Zédel is described as “a grand Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London”, but to me it’s much more than that. It’s a chance to step into a parallel world, to another time and space. Have you ever watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris , where the main character walks into a bar and finds himself in 1920’s Paris? Zédel reminds me of that.
The brasserie is just a minute away from hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus, but once you have walked down the stairs to the basement, you feel miles away from London and your daily life.
Brasserie Zédel is a grand Art Deco restaurant housed in a space that dates back to 1915. The brasserie is all marble, warm wooden panels and brass with a stunning chandelier in the centre of the hall.
Inside the brasserie, there are many tables as well as a bar counter with stools (where I had dinner on my first visit). On the left of the room there is a small stage for jazz bands, which play live from 9:30pm onwards.
The first time I had dinner at Brasserie Zédel I had just won a blogger award, I was alone, happy and little tipsy, and I literally stumbled upon the restaurant. I was in the mood for celebration and thought “why not?”. I sat at the counter and had beef bourguignon, pommes frites and a glass of wine. It loved it! A few months later I went back with my husband for another lovely French dinner and a large portion of mousse au chocolat to share.
This week I was at Brasserie Zédel to celebrate La Fête des Rois (Three Kings Day). In France it is the tradition on Epiphany (6th January) to gather with friends and family and share a Galette des Rois, a tart made of layers of puff pastry filled with almond cream. Bakers or parents making the tart will hide a fève (bean) inside the galette, then whoever finds it (usually a kid) will be king or queen for the day.
La Fête des Rois is one of French holidays celebrated with special events at Brasserie Zédel during the year. Another one is Bastille Day in July. What’s even better is that on Three Kings Day you can eat for free, all you have to do is wear a crown! That’s right, anyone wearing a crown (a full king’s outfit is optional) is entitled to a complimentary set menu of three courses worth £19.75.
Unsurprisingly, there was a great jovial atmosphere on the night, with all the diners wearing crowns of all kinds: paper, fabric, metal, even inflatable ones.
I had such a fun time I am already planning going back next year.
Of course, in such a quintessential French setting, you can expect to find traditional French food and wine. As expected, the menu mostly features meat and fish, but there is a vegetarian menu available if you require one.
The food prices are affordable considering the quality and the location (£5-6 for starters, £12-16 for mains and £5 for desserts).
I decided to stick to the classics, so I started dinner with a Soupe a l’Oignon (onion soup). Compared to the heavy, cheesy soup I had in a Parisian brasserie last year, this was delicate and flavourful without feeling heavy or too dense. I found it delicious.
My friend Steffi (@steffi_daydreamer) also went for a classic dish and ordered the Steak Tartare.
I tend to eat beef every time I go to Brasserie Zedel, actually I think I go to Zedel every time I fancy eating red meat. For dinner this week I had the Onglet Grillé aux Echalotes Confites (grilled hanger steak with shallot sauce).
Sides are not included in the main courses, so remember to order them. I love their thin fries and creamy spinach (épinards à la crème).
Steffi ordered the Choucroute Alsacienne, a famous Alsatian dish of sausages, salted meats and charcuterie with sauerkraut.
At Brasserie Zedel the Choucroute is served with cured and smoked belly of pork, and a frankfurter; you can also have it with ham hock and garlic sausage as extras. Or go for the fish choucroute with salmon, smoked and fresh haddock and mussels. I know what I am going to order next time.
Despite declaring we wouldn’t eat dessert, we ended up ordering one each. Once again, we opted to stick to the classics. Our host, Natalie, ordered the unmissable and delicious Mousse au Chocolat.
Steffi chose the Crème Brûlée.
And I tried the Profiteroles with chocolate sauce. I am not a big fan of profiteroles, but I think I need to re-consider where I stand on this issue. Profiteroles can be so incredibly good!
Once again I had a lovely dinner at Brasserie Zedel, and I know it won’t be the last. I strongly recommend trying it if you are in London, but make sure you book in advance because it’s very popular and always busy.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are my own.