5-7 Blandford Street
London W1U 3DB
Tel: 020 7486 9696
Food type: Modern European
Food rating: 5/10
Nearest tube: Bond Street
Website: L’Autre Pied
L’Autre Pied was awarded a Michelin star in the January 2009 Red Guide. There is no doubt that Marcus Eaves is a very talented cook. When I last visited, the restaurant was dishing out good but not memorable food. What I liked though was that dining there was very relaxed. I felt it would be a good time to come back to see anything has changed since my last visit.
The restaurant seems to be thriving despite the on-going recession – no doubt aided by their smart pricing and its recently garnered star. The ala carte menu features individually priced items with starters ranging from £9.45 to £16.95, mains £20.95 to £29.50 and desserts £7.50 to £9.85. There are also two tasting menus priced at £52 for 7 courses and the seasonal tasting menu of 4 courses at £44.95. For early diners, a pre-theatre menu is available at £20.95 for 3 courses. There certainly has been a a small increase in price.
Bread is now a solitary choice of white roll but at least still baked on the premises. Served warm, these were of decent quality with a nice fluffy interior. (6/10)
A little amuse bouche of cucumber and coriander gazpacho with creme fraiche, served in a little shot glass, kicked things off. Nice and refreshing with good amounts of seasoning although perhaps lacking in depth of flavour. (5/10)
Open Ravioli of Pan Fried Langoustine, Crispy Jersey Royals, Peas, Broad Beans, Wild Garlic Emulsion
My starter of an ‘open ravioli’ of langoustines (or deconstructed lasagna whatever you like to call it) with seasonal jersey royal new potatoes, peas and broad beans was rather disappointing. While the dish read incredibly well on the menu, the overall composition was one dimensional with the prevalent element being the butter in the garlic emulsion. Somehow or another, the lovely freshness of the peas and broad beans were ‘lost in translation’. A shame really because the langoustines were carefully cooked and had superb flavour. (4/10)
Saddle of Rabbit, Confit San Manzano Tomatoes, Baby Leeks, Pomme Dauphine
An asiette of rabbit with rolled saddle, rack and little patties of shoulder got the meal back on track. The timing of the meat was spot on (it can be so easy to overcook rabbit resulting in some very stringy meat) and the presentation was one to suggest a rabbit and the garden surrounding it. If I had one nitpick is that the chef responsible for cooking the rabbit showed a little heavy handedness with the seasoning. (This is obviously a recurring issue because on my last visit, my fish course was over salted.) Nevertheless, the confit tomatoes with its acidity did help to alleviate the seasoning issue somewhat. (5/10)
Pan Fried Sea Bream, Cobrey Farm Asparagus, Potato Gnocchi, New Season Peas
Better was my companion’s plate of sea bream with excellent tasting asparagus and peas with great care taken in cooking the fish resulting in some very crisp skin. (6/10)
“Tiramisu” Coffee and Dark Chocolate, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Espresso Sorbet
The best dish of the night belonged to Marcus Eaves’ witty take on a ‘Tiramisu’. This was presented as a chocolate cake with kahlua foam, mascarpone ice cream and espresso sorbet at the side. To add interest, a little dusting of ‘space dust’ (you know… those little sweets you had as a kid which fizzles and pops in your mouth) gave literal meaning to the term ‘excitement in your mouth’. (7/10) Petit fours were your token jelly (passion fruit) and salted chocolate truffle. Nothing to get too excited over.
To sum up, for better or for worse – nothing much has changed at L’Autre Pied. The food, while good was never ever going to be a life changing experience. The tiramisu was perhaps worthy of another mention even if purist may gag at the idea of deconstructing a classic dessert. Service was yet again faultless with David Moore himself present.