Zedel is a brasserie run by restaurateurs Corbin and King, opened in June 2012. It is situated in the cavernous space that was once The Atlantic Bar and Grill, which closed in 2005, and has been empty since then. The vast dining room seats 220 people at any one time, and there is a separate bar. It has been redecorated attractively in a vaguely art deco style, with a wooden floor and marble pillars. A piano on a ledge along one wall is hardly noticeable, such is the scale of the room. Zedel is named after a vintage car, a Swiss car manufacturer established in 1901. As a modern touch, there is free wi-fi for guests, with no pesky login needed.
The menu is firmly in bistro territory, presented on a large card. The pricing is surprisingly modest. Starters are priced as low as £2.25 for a soup of the day up to £8.75 for a parfait of foie gras. Main courses are £7.50 for steak haché to £15.95 for a filet mignon. Vegetables are £2.50, desserts £2.75 to £5.75. The short wine list ranges from £16 to £128, with most wines under £40. The list omitted the growers of the majority of the wines (e.g. “Bordeaux 2006”), which was a step too far in simplicity for me. Ostertag Pinot Gris Zellberg 2009 was £55 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £23, Louis Carillon Chassagne Montrachet 2009 at £75 for a wine that retails at £29, and Bollinger Grand Année 2002 at £128 for champagne that costs £58 in a shop.
Sardines (£8.95) were technically a main course, were fresh and capably cooked and served with rocket salad which gave a little peppery hint to balance the natural oiliness of the sardines (3/10). Spatchcock chicken (£13) was served with tarragon vinaigrette and a salad of potatoes and beans. The chicken was cooked correctly, the tarragon bringing some flavour to the bird, the salad decent enough; hardly an exciting dish, but well made (easily 2/10). Pommes frites were pleasant, thin and nicely seasoned, though they could have been a little crisper (3/10). Citrus tart (£3) was easily the best dish of the meal, with reasonable pastry and above all a nicely balanced filling with smooth texture and just enough lemon bite (easily 4/10, maybe 5/10). This could have arrived from a grander kitchen entirely.
Service was very slick indeed, with dishes delivered promptly and water carefully topped up. Jeremy King was in the room, and happened to walk past as my coffee was being delivered. He observed that there was little crema on the double espresso, and ordered a replacement. It was a nice touch. The bill for three courses, but without any drinks, was £33. This seems quite reasonable to me given the competent cooking and the grand dining room. You could actually eat for less than this if you skipped wine.