The Delauney is fancy. Wood panelling, silver-rimmed plates, doormen and maître D’s create a dining experience that’s a cut above, and knows it. As soon as you walk into the place you notice two things: the history of feeding the top of society, and the cakes – rich, glorious-looking gateaux which sit, invitingly on a table in their own antechamber before the dining room.
“So big, in fact, that it needed oval plates so it fitted in a sensible place-setting”
We’re here to try the Wiener schnitzel, one of Time Out’s top 100 dishes, and at £19.50 for just the slab of meat, no sides included, we’re hoping it will be a cut above too. I must admit, I was slightly worried that this restaurant might be stuck in the century before last, with over-creamy, finickety, stale-French-inspired cooking. I was wrong, at least on the evidence of the relatively straightforward dish we ordered with sides of spinach and pickled cucumber salad.
First things first: the schnitzel was enormous. So big, in fact, that it needed oval plates so it fitted in a sensible place-setting. Oh, and so the slab of meat didn’t look too lonely on a round plate unaccompanied by anything but light juices and half a lemon. Of course, it wasn’t such a vast load of veal what with being hammered to a thin slice before being crumbed and fried to a perfect golden brown.
If I’m honest, this was perfect meat-heaven to my taste, with effortless succulence and a subtle, fresh, almost poultry flavour offset by the crunch of the crisped breadcrumbs and the sharp acidity of the lemon. Neither of the sides was much to write home about, but nor were they supposed to be vying for centre stage.
I should stress that there were substantially more economical options on the menu, particularly for those interested in more than a single course. I’ll have to come back – if only for a slice of those glorious cakes!