We recently stumbled upon a delightful French restaurant tucked away in a quiet corner of Piccadilly, Cafe Zedel is proud Parisian brasserie that combines tradition with taste.
On entering Café ZL, you’re lead down a flawless marble staircase flanked by coloured posters to a decadent, Art Deco-styled former Grill Room of palatial proportions, haloed by an elegant chandelier suspended in the outside hallway. The feel is like something off the Titanic: white plaster ceilings give a nostalgic nod whilst framing square lights; sumptuous velvet seating resides beside pink-clothed tables, with perfectly-folded napkins; and the marble walls are set off by gilded accents, reportedly costing £750,000 to restore.
Take your eyes off the surroundings and focus on the menu: it’s a surprise to discover that the prices are more than reasonable. The Prix Fixe is a mere £11.25, serving up perfectly-seasoned carottes rapées, a deliciously meaty steak haché sitting in a pool of creamy pepper sauce, accompanied by crisp ‘french fries’.
All this is set against a musical background of elegant piano playing, evoking an atmosphere of cigarette holders, satin gloves, Dior Sunglasses and rich plumes of smoke. Try a desert for a flamboyant finish – the zesty tarte au citron is just £3, and the soft-as-clouds profiteroles are served with an opulent hot chocolate sauce.
After eating, indulge in a cocktail at the Bar Américain, Gatsby-style. You’ll pay a little more for it, but the mahogany-coloured interior offers a relaxing alternative to the fast-paced restaurant. The nearby Crazy Coqs venue, which hosts live music and cabaret, is fun for an entertaining evening out, whilst the upstairs café is nonchalantly cool.
All in all, Zédel offers something different, nothing here is done with pretension, but instead, offered with care, attention, and a fond respect for a bygone era – all you can do is raise a glass to it, and drink it in, we highly recommend a visit.