In this blog post I’ll recall back to my anniversary on October. Look out for part II for when I came back for another meal at the beginning of January for my mum’s birthday. So a few months back, my anniversary with my boyfriend was fast approaching and he decided to let me pick where we were eating as usual. It had to be in close proximity to Apollo Victoria Theatre where we were going to watch Wicked. I didn’t know much about the restaurants on that side of London so admitting to defeat, I googled it. I probably typed in something along the lines of romantic restaurants near Apollo not knowing there was Eventim Apollo Theatre and Apollo Victoria Theatre. So of course… I ended up finding and booking a restaurant closer to the one we weren’t going to. Typical. It was only a few minutes on the tube anyways, and I was already sold by the theme of the restaurant. French. We arrived and it was such a glamorous setting. There’s a few different parts to this restaurant. You’re greeted at the front by somebody in uniform who opens the door for you and you head downstairs through a mirrored wall carpeted staircase all completed with framed vintage French posters and artworks. And then you reach the bottom and there’s a very grand chandelier above your head. It’s almost like a scene from what would be a very glamorous French labelled Alice in the Wonderland. What I mean by that is there were about 3 or 4 (I can’t remember) doors you could head through. There’s a ticket place, the bar and the restaurant and toilets. Or should I say, Les billets, Bar Américaine, Brasserie Zédel et Les Toilettes. You walk to the restaurant where you’re greeted by more staff who take your name. I already made a booking, so once I said my name, a waiter whisked us away to our table. The inside of this restaurant is gorgeous, filled with romantic dimmed lights, spacey and there’s even a piano and an extensive and glitzy bar. I felt so fancy when the waiter pulled out the table for me to sit down and asked for my jacket to be put away, I’m used to the types of restaurants where I just sit down and usually end up uncomfortably sitting on a sleeve of my jacket.
When you’re sat down, you’re given a large menu, all in french. You have to request for a menu in English, I felt quite smug when I could understand a lot of the menu having studied French at A-level. A basket of bread was brought to the table alongside their tap water which was requested, come on, we’re students. When you first walk in to the restaurant, there’s a corner of just bread and there’s a man who just slices dozens and dozens of baguettes. I could not complain about the bread, it was crunchy on the outside and soft and light on the inside. When we finished the first basket of bread, they brought over a new basket straight away.
After lots of umm-ing and ahh-ing and what probably seemed like hours to the waiters, my boyfriend and I finally made up our minds! For starters, I ordered Snails in Herb Butter, Six Escargots au Beurre Persillé (£ 8.75) and my boyfriend ordered a Goat’s Cheese and Onion Quiche, Quiche de Chèvre aux Oignons (£ 4.75). This was only my second time ever eating snails, with the first time being in France. I often dreamt of eating snails again in London but they seem like a rarity over here. Who knew that snails had their own serving dish? I didn’t! But so it came in a plate with 6 holes for the snails to be bathed in the lovely, fragrant and salty herby butter. I definitely could’ve done with a mint or a breath spray after that starter but it was divine. I don’t know how to describe the taste of snails but it is a satisfying chew complemented very well with the rich butter. And once you used their little forks to get the snails out from the plate, I dipped some of the bread into the butter and let me tell you, it was beautiful. I think I stopped buttering my bread after that and tried to use as much of the herby butter as I could before the waiters took away the dish. They were very attentive and would take away anything once finished. Not that I’m complaining, it’s always annoying having to play Tetris with your plates on the table.
|Snails in Herb Butter, Six Escargots au Beurre Persillé (£ 8.75)|
|Goat’s Cheese and Onion Quiche, Quiche de Chèvre aux Oignons (£ 4.75)|
For the main course, my boyfriend ordered the Pan Fried Chopped Steak with a Pepper Sauce and Fries, Steak Haché, Sauce au Poivre Et Frites (£ 9.50) and I ordered Grilled Salmon Fillet with Wild Rice and Lobster Sauce, Pavé de Saumon, Sauce Américaine (£ 14.25) . I think I was trying to be healthy or make up for the fact I had a very rich and calorific starter. My salmon arrived looking very crispy which is always a plus. I love lobster but I must admit the lobster sauce tasted a bit on the bitter side, I didn’t know what to expect, but I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again next time. The rice… well what can I say? It was plain rice. My main course was a bit bland, and I did have to add a bit of salt but it was all cooked to perfection. I tried a bit of my boyfriend’s main course too, the perks of not eating alone, you always get to try a bit of everything! The steak and fries in my opinion was such a bargain! By the end of the meal, even if we wanted dessert, we were stuffed and we had to quickly dash for the theatre.
|Grilled Salmon Fillet with Wild Rice and Lobster Sauce, Pavé de Saumon, Sauce Américaine (£ 14.25)|
|Pan Fried Chopped Steak with a Pepper Sauce and Fries, Steak Haché, Sauce au Poivre Et Frites (£ 9.50)|
All in all, I’d definitely recommend Brasserie Zédel if you want something special but don’t want to spend ridiculous money, it’s such a beautiful French restaurant, I really loved it. It doesn’t seem full of pretentious people who think they’re better than you, but it’s such a nice relaxed setting with all kinds of people! We were sat between a man who ate his bowl of soup by himself all whilst intently reading his newspaper, and a couple who seemed to order the same food as us! And across us was a table of about 10 teenager boys enjoying their french food. It did strike me a little bit odd, that a group of such young boys so young was already branching out with their foods, it took me well after my secondary school ages to open my eyes to a whole different world of foods. The staff there are amazing, they are incredibly attentive and so warming. They definitely made me feel like I was royalty in already such a grand and beautifully decorated restaurant. It was a fabulous anniversary and pre-theatre meal. I’ll definitely be visiting again!