Brasserie Zédel is a French institution, a (relatively) hidden gem in the heart of Soho that I would happily return to week after week. Though the queue often ends on the street, it’s more than worth the wait; serving traditional French cuisine in a vast and stunning art deco brasserie basement, dinner at Zédel’s is an experience EVERY Londoner should add to their list.
On my last visit, we were told on arrival that the wait for a walk-in table was at least an hour (advance booking highly recommended!) so we opted to dine at the bar, which in itself is magical. The service and decor are très traditionnel and you instinctively feel as though you should be wearing a flapper dress and smoking from an elegant looking cigarette holder.
In traditional French style, a basket of fresh baguette with creamy butter arrived as we were seated and needless to say, it didn’t last long. The drinks menu is a wine lovers dream and has every type of French white, red, rose and champagne imaginable – it was almost too tough to pick one! We eventually settled on a Picpoul to accompany my grilled hake; my dining companion had a hankering for steak haché but was happy to oblige with a white wine.
Whilst our drinks were being poured by one of the super friendly bar staff, we were totally transported to 1920’s France as a jazz band on the far side of the room burst into action. We shared grilled hake served with olives, green beans and tomatoes and steak haché in a creamy pepper sauce with fries (both cooked to perfection) for mains and followed the meal with an indulgent crème brûlée. The food, wine, atmosphere and service was practically faultless – it’s the sort of place you could stay for hours on end and emerge late at night, forgetting you’re in London, not Paris.
Whether you’re hungry, thirsty or simply want to escape London for an hour or two, I couldn’t recommend a visit toBrasserie Zédel enough. Go for a glass of champagne at the bar, go just for dessert and share the decadent chocolate mousse or go just to soak up the electric atmosphere – it’s a special place that just so happens to be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.