Photo London and the Delaunay:
I love Christopher Corbin and Jeremy King’s restaurants. There is an old-world professionalism about them that that makes me deeply happy. They take classic European models mediated through a contemporary London lens and have created a series of great rooms with an individual sense of style and an energy, furnishing them with linen tablecloths, waiters without obvious tattoos, and a satisfyingly coherent food offer. Places like The Delaunay restaurant should feel fake but are instead ingrained into the fabric of London life. So all in all I was very pleased to be invited to The Delaunay for a review lunch – the restaurant had partnered with ‘Photo London’ to offer an exclusive exhibition and lunch package. The Delaunay sits on the junction of Drury Lane and The Aldwych. It’s a handsome Mittel-European style Grand Café with a Viennese slant so is perfect as a breakfast or afternoon tea destination – think Viennoiserie and strüdel – as well as for lunch or dinner. With its dark wood panelling it has an old-fashioned and slightly masculine feel that harkens back to a pre-Instagram world when men wore hats and stockings were seamed. I have to confess that I had never heard of Photo London. Now in its fourth year Photo London 2018 brings together the world’s leading galleries at Somerset House, showcasing over 80 Exhibitors, as well as offering an exciting programme of talks and awards. But before going to the exhibition it was time for lunch with The Delaunay – just a five-minute walk from Somerset House. The offer was for a 2-course lunch with a choice of 3 starters and 3 main dishes with a meat, vegetarian and fish option for each course. Joyously it included a complimentary glass of Pommery Champagne and for just £50 including entry to the show it seemed like a very good deal. Wild Mushroom Soup was deliciously grainy and full of forest umami flavours.Whereas, a prettily-plated Citrus Cured Salmon Tartare was light, delicate and zinging with flavour. Seared Mackerel Fillets had been given a proper scorching in a hot pan caramelising the flesh into soft, yielding tasty mouthfuls, with pickled beetroot and a caper-heavy sauce gribiche cutting through the natural oiliness of the fish. If the mushroom soup was a walk in a dark forest somewhere on the borders of Austria and Hungary, then Wild Mushroom Stroganoff with Buttered Spätzle was a stroll in an Alpine woodland. With the spätzle providing some comforting ballast, the vegetables were brought to life by the lightly-spiced richness of the sauce.
Finishing off with some delicious complementary petit-fours The Delaunay restaurant lunch deal never felt like a cheap option and was beautifully executed and served.
Stepping out into the sunshine and over the road to Somerset House I was taken aback by the scale of ‘Photo London’ It had taken over the central courtyard and most of the exhibition space at the Contemporary Arts section. There was an excited buzz with crowds of people networking, bumping into old friends and enjoying the mix of classic prints with the cutting-edge. There were iconic shots of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn mixed in with extraordinary moving photos à la Harry Potter. Famous photographers mingled with dealers, collectors and the curious with people coming from all over the world to what was clearly a major global photographic event.
Going for lunch or dinner and then on to a show or exhibition is deliciously civilised and pleasurable and The Delaunay is perfectly situated for anything in the West End or the South Bank.
Reservations at The Delaunay restaurant must be made in advance either by calling +44 (0) 20 7499 8558 or emailing email@example.com
And do check out some of the other Corbin & King restaurants we’ve reviewed. They include the beautiful upmarket Colony Grill at the Beaumont Hotel, Bellanger in Islington and Brasserie Zedel in Picadilly