I love it when London surprises me. I love it even more when it makes we think how many other surprises it has lurking in its underbelly waiting to be unearthed.
On Friday night myself and Hanson had a date night. My sister forwarded me a link to a new restaurant her friend recommended and thought I might like. She wasn't wrong. Brasserie Zedel is spectacular. Quoting Architecture Today magazine, it says on their website that Brasserie Zedel has
“probably the best and most authentic series of 1930s
interiors in this country"
On street level there is a small Parisian style cafe , but it's what you find down the stairs that takes your breath away.
When you step inside the Brasserie it's the size that first makes you gasp. Whenever you go somewhere underground in a big city, it's always surprising to find such a vast space, (and that's coming from someone who works in an underground bunker) but finding somewhere so beautifully ornate and preserved is extremely special. It didn't surprise me to read that the original owners were Lyons, the company that ran Lyon's Corner Houses. The layout of Brasserie Zedel is exactly how I imagine a Lyon's Corner House would have been. Vast, with many tables (to seat more than 200) and attentive staff nipping between them. The menu itself was very cheap and seemed to still be in accordance with the original ethos making ''the luxuries usually available to the very rich open to the less well-off”. We ordered from the prix fixe menu with 2 courses for around £9, and 3 courses for around £13. The food was simple, superbly French and delicious and the waiting staff were wonderful, leaving us feeling that good old fashioned service is still alive in a city where we love to complain about customer service.
After dinner we moved into the Bar Americain for cocktails. The original pillars and bar create the perfect period atmosphere and it was difficult to know what details were authentic and what are reproduced, because the attention to detail is second to none. The only thing missing was a jazz band. As we sat in the bar, we could see a glimpse of the most incredible art deco wallpaper through a half open door, as we left we went to have a look, but a barman chased after us and said we couldn't go through there because it was a fire exit, before adding 'which is a shame, as it's one of the areas that we are most proud of, because the wallpaper took 6 weeks to hand paint.'
The Crazy Coqs Bar and Cabaret looked amazing from outside the window, and I can't help thinking it would make a great venue for a vintage club night. The only way I can imagine the elegant venue looking any better is teaming it with the sartorial style of London's vintage community, a great match indeed.
Dixon Jones were selected as architects by the Crown Estate, precisely because of their expertise in the adaptation of historic buildings, and they worked with Donald Insall Associates to restore the building’s significant 1930s art deco bars and restaurants.
I can not urge you enough to visit this amazing place. Beautiful decor, amazing ambience, great price and tasty food. Zedel has a way of making you feel like you should be paying more, just for being there.
Photography by Hanson Leatherby Photography