Posted on Monday, 11th June 2012
The Delaunay is the sister restaurant to the grande dame of brasserie eating, The Wolseley, and it is in every way as resplendent as its older sibling. Owners Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s approach was simple – to bring the best touches of old-world European café glamour and sophistication into one establishment. Think doorman with top-hat, dark wood and shiny brass fittings, a gorgeous French antique clock, and you have a sense of the Continental grandeur that The Delaunay exudes and which is also the trademark characteristic of The Wolseley.
The restaurant offers an all-day service. There are soups, eggs and sandwiches, but the slant on the food is decidedly Germanic, and there are items such as wieners and ‘tagesteller’ (dish of the day) on the menu. There is also a bit of French and British thrown in with the likes of croquet monsieur and Welsh rarebit, and for something more refined, Sevruga and Beluga caviar are available as well.
A steak tartare (small with toast – £10.50) boasted of quality meat with a rich hearty flavour. It was extremely tasty, but the tartare was a touch too acidic, and it also needed a little more onion to better balance the dish. It was served with some rustic sour dough bread.
From the wieners selection we chose the beef frankfurter and the Thüringer from the German state of Thuringia (choice of two wieners – £9.50). We requested the wieners be finished under the grill for added flavour, something I highly recommend as the customary way of eating wieners seems to be boiled only. The dish was accompanied by some fantastic sides of potato salad, caramelised onions and a wonderful sauerkraut that was incredibly light and which was every bit as good as the choucroute that I had at Caveau D’Eguisheim, a one-Michelin starred restaurant in Alsace.
Fillets of sea bass (£23) were beautifully cooked. The flesh was moist and the skin was crispy. However the pickled cucumbers that came with the fish was too acidic. It had the effect of overpowering the fish and the bed of clams in champagne upon which the fish sat.
A trolley showcased some of the desserts, and the strawberry and coconut dacquoise (£5.75) that I ordered from it looked better than it tasted. It had the hallmark of a technically accomplished dessert, but it had obviously been sitting there for a while and the biscuit layers had become soft.
The food was very good and items such as the superlative sauerkraut confirmed that there were some very skilful staff in the kitchen. Admittedly, not all elements of the cooking worked as some of the dishes such as the fish were imbalanced. But when you throw in the polished and accommodating service by a well trained group of staff and the glorious elegance of The Delaunay, there’s definitely enough to make this place worth a visit, especially for someone seeking refinement. And if you choose well, you need not spend a lot of money either as some of the menu options were very reasonably priced.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Price range: £21 – £52 for three courses. Excludes drinks and service.