Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review - Brasserie Zedel

I've been to see not one but TWO excellent plays this week. (The Master and Margarita and Twelfth Night.) And they were both for FREE. I've often considered writing reviews of non-food things I do but I know even less about them than I do about food. So I'll stop doing THIS and talk about where I went to sup before theatre. Finding somewhere to eat before the theatre is always a challenge. Firstly, it means eating at a silly time. I find it so baffling that some people eat at six for no reason other than they want to. But obviously when I go to the theatre I have to eat at six to ensure that I'm not late. Then you have to ensure you go somewhere where you won't have to wait for a table and the service won't be at a silly pace. And then there's the nightmare of finding somewhere to suit my meagre budget in the most extortionate parts of central London. Everywhere cheap and good in Soho will be upsettingly busy. Everywhere expensive and good will probably also be that busy. So you're left with places which probably won't be very good but will probably still be busy. So where to find a satisfying pre-theatre supper, hmm? A friend who has lived in London for much, much longer than I have was going to see Les Mis a while back and she mentioned she was eating at Brasserie Zedel before the show. So, copycat that I am, I followed suit and (just to be safe) booked a table there for 5.30. I did try to book the table for 6 but they persuaded me that 5.30 was more sensible because we wouldn't be able to eat in time if we go there at 6. They were wrong. But that's OK, we went to a nice pub after the meal. Anyway, back to the eating. We ordered the salmon with buerre blanc and leeks, confit duck and creme brulee to share.
The salmon was absolutely perfectly cooked. The skin was SO crisp (but not burnt) but the inside was still a little almost-rare. I love that you could see the griddle on the fish. Unfortunately, it was a little underseasoned but that was easily rectified. The leeks were buttery, the sauce creamy and the cayenne pepper surrounding it provided a nice contrast. The confit duck was less impressive. While the beans were swimming in a mellow tomato sauce, they were a little cold and lacklustre. The duck had a nice texture but unfortunately had the same heat issue and, as if to counteract the salmon, overseasoned. The french fries were crisp and sparked a conversation about if it's less awful to order fries in a french restaurant because they're french. I was confused, it's never bad to order fries. Apart from maybe with sushi. We shared the creme brulee (aww) but the explorer let me crack the top. It wasn't as satisfying as it could've been but it still had a nice crust revealing little black flecks of vanilla throughout the slightly-too-slippery custard. Overall, the meal was satisfying enough but not spectacular. It was rather forgettable. This fact is redeemed by the fact that the service in there is attentive and the scenery is bright and ornate.

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