By AA Gill
AA Gill, restaurant critic at The Sunday Times and long-term admirer of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the founders of Brasserie Zédel, tells the story of how the pair have become "the most imitated and respected restaurateurs in a city that knows how to eat out".
The 300-cover Brasserie Zédel opened in 2012, adding to Corbin and King's earlier ventures - the Wolseley and the Delaunay - and has since been joined by Colbert, Fischer's, the Beaumont and Bellanger. Each outlet has been created by imagining a story behind the venue, the people who have previously populated them and the events that have taken place.
Corbin and King are, in effect "method restaurateurs", explains Gill. The story of Brasserie Zédel is of a grand French café serving the likes of moules marinières, boeuf bourgignon and tarte tatin.
Brasserie Zédel is a truly egalitarian place to drink and eat. With its prix fixe menu (currently priced at £9.75 for two courses and £12.75 for three), this is somewhere that is more affordable than one would normally expect from such a grand room with its huge Corinthian pillars, long bar and plethora of waiters in black and white who glide around with their silver trays.
The price point brings in a throng of people you would not ordinarily see together, be it business people, actors from nearby West End shows, shoppers and tourists. It makes for an inclusive experience which, as King explained at the book launch, brings "heart and soul" to the restaurant that you don't get at a more exclusive venue.
Appropriately, the book launch took place on Bastille Day, a day on which Brasserie Zédel provides anyone who turns up dressed in a blue and white striped Breton shirt and beret with a free three-course meal, wine and coffee. This is truly a restaurant for the people.
By Janet Harmer
If you like this, you may enjoy these
- Breakfast at The Wolseley AA Gill
- The Ivy: The Restaurant and its Recipes AA Gill
- French Brasserie Cookbook: the Heart of French Home Cooking Daniel Galmiche