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|Address:||55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB|
|Tel:||020 7499 8558|
|Price: £51.00||Wine: £19.00||Champagne: £55.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 11.30am-12M (Sun -11pm)|
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It's impossible not to get a sense of grandeur when you walk through the door of The Delauney, particularly when that door is held open by an octogenarian be-hatted and be-gloved doorman. The large, open room with its dark leather seating, linen table clothes and glossy geometric flooring comes from a bygone era. So does the clientele. There's some fuss over whether you sit “in the inner circle” (yes, it's literal but also metaphorical apparently) but personally I'm glad we were on the outer edge: our youthful exuberance would have played havoc with the regulars' hearing aids. The menu owes a lot to the past too and not a good one in my opinion, being a hybrid 70s-Austro-Germanic melange: stroganoffs, schnitzels, calves liver and bacon abound. It's also too long and rather confusing with its all-day brasserie approach: I don't want to read about the eggs benedict or the New York hotdog when I've come for an elegant dinner. Happily, the cooking itself is close to perfection: my prawn cocktail had all the old elements but somehow put together in a fresh way; my spatchcock poussin was tender and juicy with a perfect light salsa verde; glazed carrots and mash sides tasted more carroty and potatoey than insipid past pretenders. I was expecting a slice of tarte for my pineapple “flammkuchen” but got a thin crispy pastry, suspiciously similar to the “tarte flambé bacon” starter my fiance had, but it was again a light, modern, delicious dish. Service is nothing less than you'd expect for this venue: discreet, professional, a little formal at times. At £70 a head (incl wine/teas) I thought it was money well spent. If you are looking for good cooking, proper service, a pleasant atmosphere, no gimmicks, no silly “no booking” policy, and reasonable prices, then reliable old dame The Delauney will deliver. No wonder it's already a hit with the silver foxes.