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Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly Circus, poor and looking at the near identical positive reviews from critics & bloggers I'm either wrong or the Zedel PR is very persuasive

I was catching up with my cousin Simon for lunch on Friday and after hearing good things decided to try Brasserie Zedel up in Piccadilly. I wasn’t quite sure where it was but after wandering through the upstairs café and down the 1920’s inspired sweeping stair case it suddenly hit me. This was the site of the old Atlantic Bar which had featured during an epic night out celebrating my 30th birthday! As we walked down Simon who is a big jazz fan noticed they have a cabaret lounge which seems to be back in vogue nowadays. I choose Zedel because I heard it was reasonable and held back a good number of tables for walk ins. It was good to the hype in that upon walking into a huge busy dining room we were shown through with reservations to a spacious table for 4 by the unoccupied piano looking out onto the room. Now décor wise it’s a mixed bag, the chandeliers, ornate cornicing and sheer scale of the room is impressive however I was less taken with pink colour scheme which felt a bit tacky, it was a bit like a 1960’s large provincial hotel dining room. Also the size of the room and hard surfaces actually made it quite hard to hear conversation.

We skipped starters and had a couple of lovely refreshing Pineau de Charentes to kick off proceedings. Simon decided to go for a classic French Steak Frites whilst I thought I would give the Dish of the day: Marmite de Poissons a go. Simon’s steak came and he really liked it. A nice big piece of ribeye cooked a perfect medium with lovely chips. However my dish was a real disappointment. I had the expectation of a little copper pot of fish stew what I got was a stainless steel dish of rice and stew which had more potatoes than fish in it. It wasn’t particularly warm (when will restaurants learn to cover food like this at the table) or tasty. This was dish of the day - it should be one of the best dishes on the menu, you wouldn’t have seen anything this bad at a the humblest brasserie in France. Fortunately I ordered a side of nice frites. We washed down the meal with a Carafe of Bordeaux which was good.

To follow Simon had a very nice rice pudding, it was titled “riz de grand mere” which translates as grandmother’s rice! I had the lemon tart which was perfectly nice. To follow we had filter coffee which thankfully came in a proper cafetiere. I can’t stand restaurants that only do you a cup of Americano. I still get a childish thrill of pushing down the plunger. The bill came to just under £70 which I thought was a bit toppy. A couple of critics have banged on about how cheap this place is based on their £2.80 soup but for £70 for two you can eat better than this. The service is pretty good though we had about 4 different members of staff look after us. Some of the food going to their tables looked very nice but I was let down by my meal. I would like to go back to try some of the other bits on the menu but my first impressions were this is a bit of a victory of style over substance. Someone has taken a lot of time and effort recreating a bustling French brasserie but not quite understood what makes it work.

Monday, October 15, 2012
Overall rating
Food 4 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5

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