Friends, Frites & Crème Brûlée

Now I’ve started going to the gym I’ve begun to take my ‘cheat’ days very seriously. Not that I’m on a super strict crazy ‘eat clean’ diet anyway, but i’m implementing far more greenery on the plate and less digestives with my tea as a rule lately. So on those days when I decide to let the veggie intake slip, I plan on indulging big time! Each weekend I try and visit a new place to eat and last weekend was a special occasion, one of my best friend’s birthdays, so we visited the beautiful Brasserie Zédel.

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I had heard of it before and assumed it served French food but didn’t know anything more than that. My friend who suggested we eat there described it as ‘like a cruise ship’. I’ve never been on a cruise ship so this didn’t help my expectations, but from the front it looked much like a quaint French coffee shop and was just off Picadilly Circus.

We went in and walked through the front café, down a corridor with amazing 1920’s French artwork and black and white photos depicting Paris, and down the staircase into what opened out to be a foyer with cloakroom, ticket desk and three venues as well. Brasserie Zédel is not only host to its eponymously named restaurant and the street level café but also glamorously art deco cocktail venue Bar Américan and The Crazy Coqs cabaret and jazz club.

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People were waiting to go in to see a concert but after being slightly nosey and wondering who was on the bill tonight, we wandered round to the left and into the restaurant area. My first thought was, yup this is definitely what I would imagine a cruise ship to look like! Not one of the gigantic 21st Century P & O ships, but like a grand dining hall from you would imagine placed in a vessel straight out of the post war golden age of cruise liners. Think Titanic or Poseidon Adventure without the disaster.

It was opulent and golden and felt like being transported back in time, I almost wish I’d dressed up more for the occasion – a group of ladies on the table next to us wore 1940’s vintage clothing with pin curls and stockings which made them fit picture perfect into the surroundings.

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Enough about the décor, although I could go on for hours about how pretty it was – I’m sure those who viewed my snapchat story from that day were sick of seeing me panning around the ceiling. Lets get to the menu.

We were given menus in French (although you could request an English/American version) but we thought we’d give it our best shot and it was surprising what I picked up in GCSE French all that time ago – apparently I could remember the French for spinach (épinards) so I was chuffed with myself.

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I had a beautiful steak in peppercorn sauce with salad and proper French frites, another of my friends also had a steak with frites and creamed spinach and the birthday girl had spatchcock chicken which looked so good I decided I’m definitely going to get it next time. But, as it was a day of indulgence, what trip to a French restaurant would be complete without a crème brûlée?

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What’s not to like about a with its crème brûlée? creamy centry and the satisfying crack of the top with a spoon. When it arrived it was huge, almost the size of a lasagne rather than the ramekin sized brûlées you normally see, I regretfully couldn’t finish the whole thing! But it was so so good and enough to make me want to run back soon.

For more information about Brasserie Zédel, Bar Américan or The Crazy Coq’s, visit their website here.

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