Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Delaunay

Hard to believe as it is, April saw my first ever visit to The Delaunay. This less formal, warmer incarnation of The Wolseley, with its power breakfasts, Middle European afternoon tea and good-time crowd seems already to be an institution. Going by my Twitter timeline, it’s now as established as any West End stalwart. I've even recommended and referenced it to people as somewhere to take parents, mindlessly oblivious the irony that I hadn’t been myself.

And it’s great. It has all the elements required to add a little grandeur to a restaurant visit. The entrance is grand and instils a slight specialness to your arrival. Staff are exceptionally polite, well-groomed and as they take your coat and guide you to the bar area for a some cold and fizzy, your socks are already charmed off.

Food is really very decent. There is nothing adventurous on the menu, but that isn’t why you would dine here. The weekend brunch menu ranges from breakfast staples to steaks, running through salads, fish dishes, the odd burger and hot dog, and those Austro-Hungarian specialities you might know from The Wolseley.

Hungover as I am wont to be on a Saturday, the chicken noodle soup was beyond what the doctor ordered, beyond even junior doctors’ own saline drip remedy perhaps. A piping hot clear broth, with strong chicken flavour came with a decent amount of shredded chicken, the noodles and some veg (carrots, celery?) to add further taste. Simple and fantastic.

Revived, prosecco-ed up and feeling much better about life in general, my hungover choice of Chicken Cordon Bleu was still a solid decision. A bit of retro fun, but executed perfectly. A huge, juicy chicken breast was flawlessly breaded and filled with a layer of ham and cheese oozing out. It rested in a ridiculously tasty jus and the whole dish was an absolute pleasure to eat, with a twist of nostalgia. Surely there is nothing better than a fancy ‘kids’ tea’? The place that does grown-up waffles and beans next has my vote. 


Dessert options are compendious and faced with the choice of a Viennese grand café, I retreated into my ignorant shell and plumped for the obvious apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. It was crunchy, soft, warming and above any criticism. I’m a simple man with relatively simple tastes though: much like pancetta/bacon and savoury dishes, there are very few desserts a cheeky scoop of vanilla won’t enhance. Or compensate for. But this was inscrutable.

I don’t have anything further to add on The Delaunay. As I mentioned, bizarrely, it snuck into my repertoire and I spoke of it with familiarity and affection long before I’d been. Which is so odd. But I guess is a testimony to how consistent the reception has been that a dependable consensus seems to have infiltrated my consciousness.  

Queuing for burgers and eating street food on the pavement has its moments, but call me a traditionalist; this is how restaurants should be. Simplicity, atmosphere, timelessly contemporary, reliable and with a sense of occasion. It smacks of longevity already. 

Service - 9/10 
Tap water tales6/10 (nominal-charged filter option pushed, but tap available) 
Staff Hotness9/10

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