Pre-Theatre Dining at the Delaunay:
The Delaunay is an excellent choice for a pre-theatre dinner partly due to its location on the corner of Aldwych and Drury Lane. Both streets are in the centre of London’s West End theatre district and most venues are but a short walk from the restaurant. As luck would have it, we were booked to see a play at The Old Vic in Waterloo. Fortunately, our well-organised hosts had taken the precaution of pre-booking a cab which was waiting for us at 7 pm to whisk us across the river in time for curtain up.
When I walked into The Delaunay at 5.30pm I was not expecting to find the large restaurant buzzing with diners. Clearly, others have heard about the pre-theatre menu too or perhaps were having an early dinner after work. Either way, there was a buzzing atmosphere. This seems to be the norm at all the Corbin and King restaurants I have visited, The Delaunay being the fourth. Each restaurant has a distinct décor based on a particular dining experience that is recreated, always seeming to have been in place for decades if not longer. So, the Brasserie Zédel is one of those huge, bustling Parisian bistros we all love to discover when alighting from the Eurostar; The Wolseley is decorated in the style of the Grand European cafés; The Colony Grill transports diners to 1920s New York. The Delaunay takes its inspiration from the Mittel European grand cafés.
What all these eateries have in common – aside from waiters in tux and bowties, great tableware and attention to detail – is excellent service and reliably good food. The pre-theatre menu at The Delaunay is composed of two courses with three choices each. I thought it a particularly successful menu, comprising vegetarian and pescatarian options.
While we made our menu choices we were served drinks to accompany a silver dish of home-baked breadsticks and a pat of butter. I enjoyed a long glass of Cranberry Cooler while my fellow diners toasted the warm weather with a chilled bottle of Rosé.
We all ordered Citrus Cured Salmon Tartare which looked delicate and pretty on the plate. The salmon was shaped into a square and was appointed with a collection of tiny veg and herbs. The fresh salmon offered up just the right citrus note. It was most refreshing. Alongside warm slices of sourdough toast were wrapped in a napkin and added some crunch. Other options were avocado, rocket and quinoa salad or eggs Benedict. I associate the latter with brunch, but no doubt some diners are happy to eat this dish as a starter course.
For the main course, I ordered spatchcocked chicken which was very flavoursome and herby with a hint of chilli. It was served on a bed of baby spinach leaves along with a side mixed salad with a piquant vinaigrette. A perfect springtime dish.
One of our fellow diners ordered Goujons of Plaice which looked lightly battered and crispy and was served with a portion of French fries and a small dish of tartare sauce. The third option was Vegetarian Stroganoff with spätzle.
The menu is well-formed for Spring with lighter dishes and lots of lovely herbs. Tea and coffee is included. A small dessert would round off the meal perfectly. There is no dessert option on the pre-theatre menu; I know some might be disappointed by this omission, though I suspect the restaurant would serve a dessert from the a la carte if necessary!
This menu is available as part of a special for £70 which includes a ticket for Mood Music currently showing at The Old Vic which is reviewed separately.