Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Delaunay (Aldwych) - where time slows down to a crawl

The Delaunay Aldwych London restaurant
The Delaunay - a touch of class without going over the top (photo by Ewan Munro)

Address: 55 Aldwych
London WC2B 4BB
Phone: 020 7499 8558
Nearest Overground station:
Covent Garden, Holborn

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £30
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: *****
Service: *****
Ambience: *****
Here is TT's take on The Delaunay where she lunched before heading to the Manet exhibition. By the way, she is threatening to take over LondonChow if I do not keep up with my posts. Ouch.

When asked what my favourite restaurant in London is, I would say it is Delaunay without hesitation. I am not quite sure why its sister restaurant The Wolseley (read best high tea in London) does not have a similar hold over me despite the similarity in menu and approach.

The Wolseley with its ornate decor always seems to me to be for ladies who lunch while Delaunay reminds me of the lobby of an old hotel or perhaps a train in the golden age of train travel - where time moves slowly and yet you get the sense that everything is transient. the main dining room has high ceilings and is bright and airy but my favourite spot is in the little area by the bar. Nestled between the little cloakroom by the entrance, the service counter and the sweets display it reminds me of an old hotel lobby. The tables are seated pretty close together. Perhaps not great if you mean to have a private conversation but excellent when you dine out alone with all the people watching opportunities and snatches of interesting conversation that one sometimes overhears. A courting couple or two business men trying to outsell each other. I don't mean to pry but isn't this what make dining out alone bearable and even fun?

Needless to say the food at Delaunay is excellent. It might look grand but it has a wide range of dishes meant for every budget and taste. Their hotdogs are around 8 quid which is a bargain considering the setting. My favourite is their schitznel. I have tried the deluxe veal version topped with eggs and anchovies - so very delicious. I must say the toppings make all the difference. The chicken version simply adorned with sea sap flakes is less sinful perhaps a little less satisfying but makes a perfectly good meal nevertheless. I had a beef tartare once too, accompanied by a salad and fries which was delicious and I thought good value at £20 for the quality.

Delaunay now has a Counter just next door. Connected through a short corridor the Counter serves mainly cakes pastries and light meals. They have a small sit in area (first come first serve basis) and do takeaway too. Their prices are extremely reasonably - just £6 for a chicken schitznel. I have not tried the Delaunay Counter yet but I suspect it won't be long before I am back. The pastries on display were calling out to me!

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