Anyone who has met me knows I do love a good Corbin and King. And I love the Delaunay no less. The Central European charm is all very coded-telegram-in-the-croissant which appeals to me to no end – this is a matter of taste, though. The 1940s feel, with its hardwood and white cloth deserves a bit more effort in the appearance department from the clientele. But the superbly presented staff, who are just the right mix of warm and cold, suit perfectly.
Even though my priority is cocktails, it is far too easy to get distracted by painfully shiny silver coffeepots and the most tempting of viennoiserie and patisserie, baked to perfection, dressed immaculately. The menu (breakfast, brunch, lunch and a la carte), is generally simple comfort food, but one can’t complain when it is done so well. The choices and twists on the ice cream coupes makes coming here or to the deli counter just for sweet worthwhile in itself. Expect typical central European fair of wursts, frites, brioche and schnitzel. An obscenely long list of starters is accompanied by a short entree list of exclusively meat – leaving very little for vegetarians, unfortunately.
Bringing myself back to my purpose with drinks – expect a short list of very simple, two-ingredient classics. 8 to 9 pound well-made Old Fashioneds, Last Words and Sazeracs. Although the Manhattan ordered perfect came a bit more on the dry side.
For a less intense flavour, do try the Veritas (Bourbon and Port). If my taste wasn’t for the short and strong, I might find myself complaining at the lack of tall, fruity drinks – but the Delaunay is really sticking to its guns to protect its classic European atmosphere you’d expect right out of Coppola’s ‘Youth Without Youth‘. The Delaunay demands a long, languid dinner.
If you have visited Fischer’s, another Viennese Corbin and King establishment, you have an idea of exactly what the menu might look like – just less formal. If you enjoyed it, you’ll certainly enjoy the Delaunay.
If you like trendy, juicy, chrome and glass – this is not the place for you.The Delaunay earns high scores for excellent atmosphere, on-the-ball service and rather good bartending, even if the list is short and classic.
If you enjoy Corbin & King’s work, do check out our review of the Bar Americain @ Brasserie Zedel, Soho!
Drinks: *** (if you consider this is primarily a restaurant, ****)
London WC2B 4BB