Converting stuff to other stuff is very popular nowadays, and the reasons are obvious. start with something you don’t want anymore, decide to change it into something else, spend far more time and money than it would take to start from scratch, and end up with something not quite as good. Take, for example, when a replica firearm is converted into an actual firearm by a teenager in Moldova – it is no longer any good as a replica firearm, as it is now a real firearm, but it is also not as good as an actual firearm as it will definitely go off in your face. Another example is when an old sausage factory is converted into shared workspace for young creatives. It will still be called ‘The Sausage Factory’ but instead of producing sausages it will produce mobile phone applications, which aren’t as good as sausages.
Weatherspoons are a company well known for converting buildings which aren’t pubs into pubs. Bingo halls, youth centres and abbatoirs are systematically eradicated of their troubled youth and slaughtered animals and filled with old men silently destroying their pension pots and later life health as BBC Breakfast plays on mute in the background.
Similarly, there is a bar called Sylvan Post in South East London, which used to be an old post office. It’s an unsatisfying drinking venue because it was designed to be a post office, not a pub, and therefore doesn’t really work as a pub. Of course, post offices are full of drunks anyway, so not much has changed in that respect. But now the community has lost its post office.
Brasserie Zédel is in Picadilly. The clues suggest it’s a converted cinema: a ticket booth, little pots of popcorn in the bar, it looks like a cinema. Of course, the West End is absolutely jam packed with cinemas so it’s unlikely you’ll be mourning the loss of this particular venue over your Moules Marinière. You might, however, be mourning your rapidly depleted bank balance after several drinks at the bar, but as we all know, being shocked at central London drink prices is like going to a Donald Trump rally and being surprised that he’s an enormous twat.
The food is standard French fare, the sort of thing French tourists would consume at a French themed restaurant in London’s Picadilly. At one point a pianist gravitates towards the grand piano in the corner and then refrains from playing – the perfect restaurant piano performance.
As conversions go, Zédel is fine. Not anger inducing, like when Jesus’s mates converted the temple into a Bureaux de Change, but still not satisfying like when they turn central Monaco into an F1 circuit and someone crashes into a dog grooming salon at 150mph. As a means to convert money into beer and chops it’s perfectly adequate. But a chop house it is not.