Oisin Rogers is the landlord of the excellent Guinea Grill in Mayfair. If you follow him on Instagram – @mcmoop for reasons I don’t know – you’ll find some fine food shoots, from all ends of the spectrum but, quite often, single dishes that are: a) his sensibly priced favourites; and b) all within a short walk from his pub. And it was his photo of Brasserie Zedel’s îles flottantes that reminded me it HAD to feature in this column sooner rather than later.
Billed as a “grand Parisian brasserie”, and with a cavernous, Art Deco interior, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Zedel would be out of your price range and painfully snobbish. However, restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (formerly The Ivy, now The Wolseley, Delaunay, etc) know a thing or two about great rooms, volume trading, friendly efficiency, and delicious food at sensible prices.
The menu is, basically, the dictionary definition of “brasserie fare” or, perhaps, the answer to “Siri, what is French comfort food?” Every culinary memory (real or imagined) you have of French holidays is probably here and splendidly executed, from Soupe a l’Oignon to three variations on the Choucroute theme, via Boeuf Bourguignon, Sardines a la Preovencale and a side of tartiflette.
As one might expect from somewhere so gloriously French, there’s also a prix-fixe and jolly good it is too, coming in, at the time of press, at £10.50 for two courses, £13.75 for three. It’s remarkable value, given the generosity of its main course, the Steak Haché, served as reasonably pink as the council allows, covered with and bathing in a sauce au poivre of decent warmth, and alongside a portion of suitably crunchy frites. It is, basically, a little cracker, whether it sends you back to childhood holidays in the Dordogne or just because you wanted a burger before the Iles Flottantes. Yes, there are other desserts available – the Délice au Chocolat Noir on the Prix-Fixe is a deeply flavoured joy – but the lightest of meringues, floating atop custard, drizzled in spun sugar and sprinkled with almonds is ALWAYS going to get my vote.
With 17 whites, 19 reds, three rosés and four champagnes available by the glass – and the prices for the first three starting under £5– it’s as hard to fault Zedel now as it was when it opened six years ago. Consistency, value, and thoroughly solid cooking rarely come in such stylish packages.
20 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7ED
Tel: 020 7734 4888