L’Autre Pied – London

On July 25, 2012 by Paris_Stilton

“Oh mon dieu ull we will eet is pooding…” moaned Brad Pitta, my Moroccan-French beau, on hearing that we were heading to London for a weekend to visit my mum and sister.  The  “everysing-eez-better-in-France” diatribe is one I have endured relentlessly over the last 3 months in Paris.  When it comes to cooking, pastry, wine, culture, and anything else for that matter, the French are fiercely, and at times tiresomely, patriotic. Needless to say, Brad Pitta gloated no-end when sister Sienna Millet informed us that we were booked into the much-acclaimed French restaurant L’Autre Pied for our first night in town.

L’Autre Pied, the cleverly named offshoot of David Moore and Shan Osborne’s two Michelin star Pied à Terre, opened its doors in 2007 with a team headed by the talented Marcus Eaves, who has since passed the baton on to the equally capable young chef Andy McFadden.

The restaurant is certainly more relaxed than its sibling, with its informal, convivial atmosphere, friendly service and flower and fruit printed olive green walls, but the fare is anything but casual.

The sparse deconstructivist menu laden with bizarre ingredients (Larousse Gastronomique reference book required) that makes you feel like you are reciting a foodie’s shopping list, and the little puffs of ‘flavoured’ foam that found their way onto every plate struck me as all a bit 2004.  However, that aside, the marriage of flavours, textures and colours that McFadden produced in each dish was impeccable. And lets face it, that is what really counts, n’est-ce pas?

Our bouches were certainly amused by the fluffy, creamy, roasted-seed and black quinoa topped cucumber mousse that accompanied our aperitif – just the thing to cool the palate and whet the appetite.

The entrée pick of the night went to me with my divine hand rolled garganelli. The perfectly al dente pasta encasing a delicate shredded crab which moseyed amongst sweet crisp broad beans and warm crunchy almonds was over all too quickly.

Brad Pitta went for the two-way mackerel. A crispy char-grilled fillet and its butter soft tartare partner atop a bed of multi-coloured sweet heritage tomatoes and sorrel. Certainly no complaints there.

A menu mix-up meant that Yummy Mummy and The Eton Mess were served foie gras instead of their scottish scallop ceviche, but the apologies were profuse, the two dishes of roasted foie gras were added compliments of the chef and the deliciously fresh scallop ceviche appeared shortly thereafter paired with fluffy black quinoa, tiny dollops of creme fraiche, crispy succulent radishes and a hint of fresh dill.

Before Yummy Mummy could finish saying “We honestly don’t need to keep the foie gras” Brad Pitta and The Eton Mess had all but devoured the two plates of the sweet roasted delicacy which was accompanied by glazed endive, toasted grains, tea marinated prunes and nutmeg.

For mains Sienna Millet, Yummy Mummy and I ordered the English grass fed spring lamb, served with glazed aubergine, raz el hanout and manzanilla.  The ingredients were dotted around the plate like awkward teenagers at a gathering, but nonetheless this was a party I most enjoyed attending. The herb crusted lamb was succulent, tender and perfectly pink.  The crunchy roll next door, which The Eton Mess described as “the most epic gourmet lamb sausage roll ever” was a strangely perfect accompaniment to the morsel of what tasted like sticky sweet and sour chinese BBQ lamb and the delicately glazed aubergines hanging out around the edge with little green olives created an amazingly orchestrated explosion of the senses.

Always one for a bit of game, The Eton Mess went for the loin of roe deer cooked in cocoa and served with black rice, crapaudine beetroot, tapioca and smoked bacon. The presentation was a tad scary, indeed it appeared as though the poor old roe deer had in fact been hit by a car on the plate, but the taste was, unsurprisingly, magical.

Brad Pitta’s poached megrim sole was delicately and deliciously executed with a light champagne and oyster veloute that was mopped clean with a scrumptious little homemade brioche.

The pave of devilishly decadent valrhona caramelia chocolate that followed with its posse of honeycomb, pistachio and tonka bean ice-cream was unfairly divine.

But the baked vanilla cheesecake topped with sweet, caramelised banana and served with mandarin sorbet, and blueberries was the real winner.  You know a good dessert when you hesitate ordering it as you are too full to justify eating any more, and then find yourself desperately scraping the film of cream cheese off the plate as the waiter is trying to take it away. This was the story with the light, tangy, caramelised, crunchy, buttery cheesecake that ended our daringly imaginative, yet undeniably scrumptious dinner at L’Autre Pied.

xoxo

Paris Stilton

 

L’Autre Pied

5-7 Blandford Street
W1U 3DB London
+44 (0)20 7486 9696
 
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