Address: 55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB
I dropped into The Delaunay last night, to celebrate my mum’s birthday. I was without my usual partner in culinary crime. I mention her absence upfront only to excuse any inferiority in the photography featured in this blog, less the blame falls on her. I tried my hardest, but was unable to capture the food in all its glory, partly through lack of skill, and partly because I was normally halfway through devouring the dish before I remembered I was supposed to be photographing it for our audience.
She will be back for the next instalment of Life at the End of a Fork, armed with her camera and keen eye for the nuances of a plate of food, a Cartier-Bresson of the Instagram era.
But on to the restaurant in question! The Delaunay is a grand place to look at, large and elegant, with dark wooden tables, green leather chairs, and a large antique clock dominating one side of the room. Paintings from the early 20th century lurk in dimly lit corners. Waiters glide across the room, dispensing small baguettes and counselling you on the wine list.
The Delaunay models itself on the grand cafes that thrived in Vienna and other parts of Middle Europe in the 1930s, and stepping inside does make you feel like you’ve caught a train out of 21st century London and into an older, more cultivated era.
The menu is also stocked with dishes you rarely find in most modern London restaurants: kedgeree, pan fried sardines, a range of schnitzels, and an entire section of the menu dedicated to various sorts of sausages with sauerkraut.
I warmed up with some Carlingford Rock Oysters, which were nice, but didn’t have quite the sea-breeze freshness of the oysters we ate recently at the Wright Brothers. I then moved on to the Chicken Kiev, which I last had aged about 17, oven cooked out of an Iceland package, costing the grand sum of £0.87. The experience had put me off the food for over a decade, but I can happily report that The Delaunay has rehabilitated it. The crisped, salted breadcrumbs, the tender chicken, the right amount of garlic butter oozing out of the core, all worked wonders for me.
At the other side of the table my father worked his way through the Char-Grilled Calf’s Liver, making appreciative grunts as he did so, which I take as his official stamp of approval for any food. My mum ate a plate of sausages, one spiced lamb and the other wild boar, which she reported as excellent.
I finished with a ‘Kinder’, which was a tall glass of vanilla, raspberry and chocolate ice creams, with marshmallows, meringue and chocolate sauce, an excellent end to a good meal.
I would classify The Delaunay as a restaurant where the ambience outdoes the food, but it is a must visit for any London restaurant explorer nonetheless, and a great warm-up for anyone looking to have dinner ahead of a West-End theatre trip.