The Delaunay is the younger sister of the wildly successful Wolseley, also owned by Corbin and King. The décor has a hint about it of a smart Viennese coffee shop, and this continues into the menu, with schnitzel and other dishes from central Europe as well as bistro fare such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. The menu is long and very appealing, full of dishes that you might actually want to eat rather than ones that are there because of the latest culinary fashion. Bread was from Millers bakery and was decent.
The wine list ranged in price from £19.50 to £215, around 60 wines with most under £50. Moulin de Gassac 2010 Herault was £19.75 for a wine that retails at £6, the excellent Marques De Murrietta Reserva 2005 was £42 for a wine that you could find in the shops for £14, and there were a few grander offerings such as Lynch Bages 1996 at £215 for a wine that will set you back £124 to buy in a shop. It is a pity that, given some effort has been made into choosing some nice wines, the wine glasses are just tumblers, like a water glass, rather than proper wine glasses. The tulip shape of a classic wine glass concentrates the bouquet of a wine, and this makes a difference; try it at home sometime to compare for yourself if you doubt this. The mark-up averaged a touch under 3 times retail, which is not bad by central London standards. As usual, the relative mark-ups are more moderate the higher up the list you go.
A starter of tarte flambé (an Alsace dish priced at £9.75) was a wafer-thin crust on which was a layer of cheese, smoked bacon and shallots. Like a very light pizza, this was an excellent starter, and got the nod of approval from my dining companion, who lives in Berlin and had tried many versions of this dish (14/20). Chicken schnitzel (£15.50) had chicken that remained moist and a crispy breadcrumb coating, served just with a garnish of lemon; very pleasant (13/20). I slightly preferred veal Holstein (£21.50), a classic dish named after Count Holstein, a 19th century German political figure. It consists of a veal schnitzel topped with a fried egg, capers and anchovies. This is a dish that was such a symbol of old-fashioned cooking that it was referenced as such in an episode of Frasier, and it is nice to see the dish revived here. Again the breadcrumb coating was crisp, the veal correctly cooked (14/20). French fries on the side (£4) were thin and crisp (14/20) and Chantenay carrots were cooked properly and glazed with ginger (14/20). For dessert, apple and marzipan strudel was enjoyable, the marzipan flavour not out of control as I feared it might be (13/20).
The bill came to £48 a head, though the £2 cover charge is a relic that I had hoped had disappeared from the London dining scene; it lurked on the bill here for no apparent reason (there were no nibbles here that might somehow excuse it, just some bought-in bread). Service was efficient and pleasant. Overall, I enjoyed the Delaunay. The room is attractive, the dishes appealing and the cooking competent, which is more than can be said for plenty of London restaurants. No wonder it was completely full for lunch on a Monday.