Pied a Terre, London

http://www.pied-a-terre.co.uk

34 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2NH

A trip back to London in November for my sister’s wedding. The perfect opportunity for my family to meet Nina… and also to check out some new restaurants and some favourites.

Pied a Terre does not fit into either territory having been around several years, the most sophisticated place in media-land. I’d never managed going (probably because I’m not the most sophisticated of people in media-land). A change of chef has recently led to a demotion in michelin status, but with a strong rep, it worth’s checking out.

It’s a walk-in booking and I get a decent spacious table at the back of the restaurant. The dining area is spread over a few small rooms and it has a good clubby feel, tailored towards the kind of lunches that seek to avoid going back to the office. It’s relaxing. The menu has a modern European feel, which essentially means modern interpretation of classics. It’s familiar, interesting and makes you hungry. A good place to be.

I aim for a light lunch and go for the menu-du-jour – a relative bargain at £33.50. Service is formal and they don’t scrimp on the canapes. A worthy mention to the foie-gras mousse. So good to be re-acquainted.

First course: veal carpaccio, autumn mushrooms, onions, parmesan crisp, salsa verde.

A thoroughly decent entree. Not traditional – the veal is seared, but it’s a really pleasant plate. It’s well balanced with decent textures. Honourable mention, surprisingly to the onions

Main course: seared cod with herb crust and roasted beetroots.

Although autumnal it’s a perfect light lunch dish. Excellent cooking with the herb crust providing meatiness of flavours. The baby beetroots are intensely sweet with accompanying ‘reduction’.

To finish – hello cheese trolley.

Mediocre cheese costs an arm and a leg in Australia. Here, excellent unpasteurised (!) cheese from La Fromagerie is a steel. It’s served with homemade crisp bread with poppy seeds (I want one of those trees…), honey and grapes. I’d made a note of the cheeses. I’m sure I’ll discover it in 6 months.

To finish – double espresso with a shed-load of petit fours.

From nougat, bakewell tart, truffle to my favourite, caneles, they all excellent treats.

It brings to close a thoroughly enjoyable lunch. It’s only the fixed lunchtime menu, but the cooking is clearly competent with a good touch of imagination. What’s notable is the genorisity in terms of canapes, cheese and petit fours. Although it doesn’t have a high-profile it’s worth checking out.

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