The Delaunay, Aldwych

The Delaunay, Aldwych
Ich liebe dich, je t'aime

The Vibe

Lunch at The Delaunay is a white table clothed affair, for an erudite and sophisticated dater. This is the sort of grand Old European restaurant where Grandpa Jo initiated you to the world of finance over a scotch, where you watched Aunty Sims swill buckets of crisp white wine while smoothing down her cashmere skirt and lecturing you about real men. It’s quite romantic, albeit a very different sort of romance. It’s the sort of place where you ‘take’ a little lunch with your date, sip slowly, talk slowly, muse on matters and imagine what life might look like if you were sat opposite them at this same spot in 20 years.  Despite the obvious formality of the setting, the atmosphere is relaxed, a mish mash of elegant groups of friends, editors and (published) writers at work, and polished couples.  Seating is at banquettes or round tables, ceilings are high, floors are marble, fittings are brass. From the people behind The Wolseley, it has the same cosmopolitan buzz, and a really heady dose of glamour.

The Order

This is an all day affair but midday is the right time to get a feel for the place. It’s an old fashioned collection of European fare, from Viennese pastries, to Eggs Benedict, Steak Tartare, omelettes and borscht. Whilst they do brunch classics well, you should go for something with a pinch of novelty, like the Cordon Bleu schnitzel, kedgeree or bratwurst. Step up and order bottled water to drink, accompanied by a dry white wine.

The Game

This would work well as a weekday date only if both of you are self-employed or work in the sort of job that allows 3 hour lunch breaks on a Friday. If not, aim for a Saturday at 12pm. Offer to pick them up in a cab but hope that they have the wherewithal to make it there themselves. Dress code here is Euro-casual.  Guys, linen shirts ironed to death paired with pastel chinos or scruffy but expensive jeans.  Ladies, white t-shirts, skinny jeans, Russell and Bromley ankle boots and a vintage leather jacket. Be clean, be crisp.  Sunglasses inside might fit the bill but please, for the love of decency, resist. Greet each other with a warm hug to balance the initial formality of walking into the dining room. Order water to the table immediately and start with small talk about your journey here. Once distractions arrive to the table, and you’ve had a chance to look at the menu, lock into real conversation. That subversive art show you saw, the book you’re reading, where and who you want to be in 10 years. Be cultured and open, try not to be pretentious, and ask them enough questions to balance out your chatter. Take the food slowly, skipping starters and sipping wine throughout.  Pause for 30-45 minutes after the main and then debate sharing an ice cream coupe, like the banana split, with a side of black Americanos. By this time it’s 4pm and the winter sun is setting. You can safely pay up, leave and either make excuses to your boss for the lengthy absence from the office or drink away your Saturday in the Waldorf Hotel’s Good Godfrey’s bar next door.

The Faults

Grand daytime lunch affairs are for the confident dater.

Sex Factor

2. Ground work.

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