The Delaunay Counter from the Wolseley stable does not look like your average takeaway. There are suited managers to greet on entry, and to talk you through the system, particularly necessary on my first visit, as the blackboards had been removed for rewriting and it was all a bit of a mystery. Of course the staff in true Corbin/King style are delightful, enthusiastic and keen to help.
However, the point of take out food is that the customer should be able to visually process the offering and make a choice speedily. Even when the blackboards were returned, the system and pricing was unclear. In addition the cold serving counter is just too dark. You have to strain your eyes to see the pots of chopped chicken liver and salads. A take away display should sing out at the customer, requiring no effort. And there needs to be more permanent information on the premises generally about the menu, particularly the breakfast offering, to encourage re-visits. I know it’s all online, but that is not enough.
The menu is heavily East European, and so offers little for non meat eaters (although the salt beef is delicious). It feels to be principally a café, with food that you can also take out. This may be fine, but the money is made by not having people stick around too long on the comfortable banquette seating, drinking coffee from china cups at take away prices.
However, there is every reason you would want to. The passion fruit tart and viennoiserie are the usual high Wolseley standard, the coffee is great and Postcard Teas has created the special Delaunay blend, which alone is worth a special detour. and served in a stunning glass and silver teapot. The space, like the Delaunay next door, is beautiful. Shayne Brady, senior designer at the David Collins Studio, has created a Viennese feel, which will endure long after any menu and operational niggles have been sorted out.
As for me, I was there twice last week, and will be again on Friday at breakfast time. There must be something about the place….
The Delaunay Counter
London WC2B 4BB
Open: Mon – Fri 07.00 – 19.30
Sat 09.00 – 19.30
Tel: 020 7871 3990