The Counter at the Delauney promises classic European sweet treats and traditional confectionery in an upmarket setting
What’s the background?
Even if you haven’t heard of Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, it’s likely you’ll have dined at one of their restaurants. Amongst others, their impressive portfolio includes the Wolseley, the Beaumont and Brasserie Zedel (a personal favourite serving affordable French fare in grand Art Deco surrounds), so when it comes to the Delaunay you know you’re in safe hands. Evoking an old-school European charm, there’s a brasserie serving an all-day menu heavy on schnitzels and frankfurters, while here we turn our attention to the Counter at the Delauney, its Viennese-inspired cafe serving cakes, pastries and light bites.
In true European cafe style there’s seats spilling out onto the street, but with its position fronting onto a busy road in the heart of theatreland you might be best opting for inside. But, as described by the promising, lit-up sign on the exterior, there’s also the option to take away a piece of patisserie (or ten). Walk in and you’ll find a beautiful and expansive counter piled high with an array of sandwiches, pastries, cakes, biscuits and confectionery.
What’s on offer?
It stands out for its Austrian and Eastern European specialities, which makes an interesting departure from more easy-to-find French, British or American baking. While its pastries and savoury offering looks promising, it’s the ‘konditorei’ that steal the show; lines of pretty cakes available in both miniature and full-size versions. The focus is on classics produced with a light touch, from pleasingly rustic-looking apple and cinnamon strudel to black forest gateaux and indulgent slabs of sachertorte.
What to choose?
Go for the Dobos torte, a light cake hailing from Hungary; combining multiple thin layers of sponge and chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel, it’s just that little bit too fiddly to want to make at home. Veering away from the commitment to traditional flavours, the coconut gugelhupf, drenched with delicious strawberry syrup (be careful with leakage if transporting this home…) is gorgeously moist with none of the dryness you can sometimes get with yeast-based cakes, while the fruity flavours of the cherry and pistachio millefeuille also come through strongly.
What’s the damage?
Viennoiserie is around the £3.50 mark, while cakes will set you back nearer to £4.50 – while some slices are more substantial than others, it’s a fair price for the high standard of patisserie on offer.
The Counter at the Delauney, 55 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BB; thecounter.co.uk