The Delaunay is a restaurant from Corbin and King, the brains behind The Wolseley and the newer Brasserie Zedel and Colbert. None of which I have had the pleasure to go to….yet. It styles itself on a Central European grand café and the moment you walk through the door you feel like you could be walking through a Victorian train station. Time seems to have stood still. There is a smart doorman, large antique mirrors lining the walls, dark wood everywhere, white table linen and silver tableware. It certainly looks grand.
As well as a fantastic looking breakfast menu, the all day dining menu (last orders at midnight!) features a lot of Austrian and German favourites and those are the dishes I went for. Although there were several other dishes that caught my eye.
To start I chose the white asparagus ‘Rhein-Pfalz’ (£10.50). I didn’t have a clue what ‘Rhein-Pfalz’ was, but according to the online dictionary, it is a region in the former West Germany. White asparagus always reminds me of this appetiser my mom used to make, using tinned white asparagus, mayonnaise and baguettes! As awful as it sounds and probably one of only a few recipes I truly disliked of hers. With such poor memories, I have no idea why I chose this starter but in actual fact it was right up my street. ‘Rhein-Pfalz’ is a tart caper, lemon and breadcrumb sauce packed with fresh parsley and lots of good olive oil drizzled over the top. The asparagus had been blanched just so and they retained their crunch. It was a very refreshing and light dish.
TBH chose Pea and mint soup (£6.75). Appearances wise, although vibrant in colour, it looked kinda boring and could have been presented better. However it tasted really nice and the smell of mint wafted over to my side of the table when he blew on it to cool it down.
There are three different schnitzels on the menu and again I had to google the one I went for. Holstein Schnitzel (£21.50) is a schnitzel topped with a fried egg, capers and anchovies. All things I really love, so that is why I ordered it. The size of the schnitzel when it arrived was absolutely mammoth! I wasn’t sure I would be able to eat the whole lot (I did!) and the plate was very simply dressed with a lemon wrapped in muslin. The schnitzel was still moist and not oily at all. I can say with absolute conviction that I love schnitzel and I love fried eggs, but I do not like fried eggs on top of schnitzels! Texturally it just felt all wrong to me, so I ate them separately and enjoyed the dish much more once I’d done that. I ordered some tenderstem broccoli with paprika butter (£4.50) to go with my schnitzel. They were cooked and seasoned perfectly. We also ordered some French fries (£4.25) to share and these were crunchy and well seasoned.
There are daily specials and the Saturday special is a Chicken Kiev (£18.75), which TBH ordered. The only experience he has had of a chicken Kiev is the one from a very well known supermarket chain that you just bang in the oven! Needless to say, The Delaunay version was light years ahead. It came served with a potato salad and a small side salad. The breast was packed full of garlic and parsley but the butter didn’t ooze out as he had expected it to. The potato salad was made using new potatoes,with lots of chives running through and the mayonnaise was light and creamy.
There were some fantastic sounding desserts but in the end we decided to share the very retro Banana Split (£7.75) The banana had a wonderful crunch to the outside where it had been caramelised. Topped with whipped cream, toasted almonds a raspberry sauce and a hot chocolate sauce on the side. It was a dish of much joy!
Service was efficient and professional, but felt a little impersonal to me. There seems to be over 100 covers in the restaurant and it is busy, but I just didn’t feel that I was able to engage with any of the waiting staff. I don’t doubt that they would go to any length to make sure you’ve had an enjoyable time though.
The total bill for two which included a glass of white wine, a carafe of red wine, a beer and service was a very reasonable £134.94. There was a £2.00 cover charge per person, which I think is a little cheeky but I suppose they have to cover the cost of the delicious bread!
All in all it was a very enjoyable lunch and a restaurant I will definitely return to. The menu is unfussy with lots of familiar classics and I liked that there was a huge selection of wine available by the glass and carafe. Its the kind of place that you would take your parents to and know that they would be impressed and that the food would be good. The portion sizes are absolutely ginormous though, so make sure you go hungry!
Next up I’ll be going to Ceviche with one of my besties, a Peruvian restaurant that took the London restaurant scene by storm last year. I’m looking forward to my first proper tasting of ceviche!
Until we eat again!