Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Brasserie Zedel Review

I'd read all the reviews of Zedel, which were basically all of the same consensus: It'c cheap, and it's quite nice for what you pay for. Well, I did enjoy it. It was an enjoyable meal, overall. But I did have a few niggles. But first, things I liked:

Things I liked:

I really liked the room, it was massive. Cavernous, even. I think there's another room which I think is a bar or something, but we were in the brasserie, having made a reservation a couple of days before. It looks cool and it's French-feeling and it's good for all demographics - no-one would feel out of place there. The massive space is pretty impressive and not something that the term 'brasserie' normally conjures up. Though my dining companion, who is French, and a lot older than me, thought it looked like a French theme park.

My main course of black pudding, mashed potato and apple. It was the special and I'd only ever had minute portions of black pudding, so of course I had to try it. It was good, hearty and what you'd call a 'classic combination'. Though the sausage was a bit intimidating. In the end, there was a too-much sausage to-everything-else situation (yeah, yeah, I know).

Things I didn't like:

The two-hour window for which we had our table. I know it's common practice, but it means I constantly had the time in mind, as did the staff - consequently service felt a bit rushed. We did ask if there was any chance we could stay at the end, with half a bottle of wine left, but had to move to the bar. We were seated in a (admittedly, erm, cosy) booth, so it wasn't like we simply had to leave. But it was a disruption, nonetheless and another time, we might not be so lucky as to get a seat.

The snails. The first time, my friend had to send them back  because they were frozen in the middle. They were, of course, very apologetic, and the second batch fine, but they didn't take them off the bill. If they're frozen, for christ's sake, that's kind of the least you'd expect. 

It wasn't that cheap. We didn't over-order massively, we had 1.5 starters each and shared a couple of bottles of (house) wine. Perhaps we should have kept a closer eye on what we were ordering, but it came to £90 for both of us, including service. Which is far more than I was expecting to pay.

Thing I thought were ok:

The frog's legs. They were nice. They tasted like chicken. I'm almost embarrassed to write this cliche. But I wanted to try them, so now I can tick them off the list.

Creme brulee. It was as good as any other creme brulee, if a bit boring - I quite like having something with it, a bit of a contrast, but maybe that's just me. Plus, by that point, I was really full so I didn't eat quite a lot of it. I think the sheer surface area put me off, to be honest. But it was with one of few genuine smiles that the waiter approached our table and said, knowingly 'Have you been defeated?', to which I nodded, bashfully. Or maybe because our meal was nearly finished.

To summarise, I would probably go here again, because I did enjoy it. But I'd have to be way more careful if I wanted to get a 'cheap' meal. It's all very well to lay it all out like it's a place to go to get a cheap meal, but it's all about the things that add up very quickly, and get added on. It's probably all of the glowing reviews I've read ("They've got starters for under 3 quid! In LONDON!") that have tarred it with the 'cheap as chips' brush, but for me, this isn't it and is on a par with any of the rest of the trendy places in Central London.


Brasserie Zedel on Urbanspoon Square Meal


  1. I completely agree.

    TW and I went, and it came to about £80 for the two of us: based on previous ravings by people, I was expecting much less than that. We didn't order the cheapest items on the menu, admittedly, but it was still a slight surprise. Maybe it's also bedded in a bit now, but when TW and I went a while ago, the service was also pretty chaotic, which was a shame.

    I also thought the food was fine, but no more than that. I'd far rather spend £80 at a Russell Norman restaurant (pick one...) where I know I'll get much more interesting and better food for the same price.

    1. Exactly. For that much, you kind of expect a little something more!

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