Piccadilly Circus may be best known for its raft of tourist magnet chain restaurants such as the likes of Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, but there are other ample opportunities for decent quality food in the area at prices that won’t break the bank.
Proving our theory is Brasserie Zedel, an archetypal brasserie which provides Gallic staples at low prices, and according to one reader, is “just like being in Paris”. Taking up residence in the glitzy surrounds of a cavernous former ballroom dripping with marble-clad charm, Brasserie Zedel offers an extremely reasonable prix fixe at three courses for less than £15 (including steak frites for mains), while the à la carte is full of classic French brasserie dishes.
Start with a hefty bowl of soupe à l’oignon or a clutch of escargots slathered in parsley butter, before moving on to baked trout with almonds, smoked pork belly or something more exotic such as spicy merguez sausage with couscous. Steaks are also perennially popular, from good-value haché with pepper sauce all the way up to a luxe rib-eye with Café de Paris sauce. To finish, the likes of crème brulee and lemon meringue tart are must orders.
The separate gluten-free menu’s “wonderful choice” gets a special mention, while over 30 selections from the all-French wine list are sold in five measures. Accusations of “unexciting” dishes are not unfounded but, for those who want a good French meal in the West End at a reasonable price, Zédel is hard to beat – as one reader puts it, Brasserie Zedel is the place to go for “really good, unpretentious food”.
Factor in the polite and knowledgeable service from the army of wait staff and the bustling, convivial atmosphere and it’s easy to see why Brasserie Zedel remains one of London’s most popular spots for a casual, easy dinner.