Pied à Terre
34 Charlotte Street
London W1T 2NH
Tel. 020 76361178
Food type: French
Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road
The third part of my grouse hunt instalment takes me to Pied à Terre where I had one of the most memorable grouse dishes last year. Booking at short notice, I was very grateful that the restaurant were able to pull some strings and squeeze me in for an early table.
My last visit here was with my fiancee’s family and we had the their regular tasting menu which although great featured all their signature dishes that I was very familiar with due to visiting fairly regularly. This time around, I left it to Marcus to decide dinner proceedings and he duly obliged with a special tasting menu featuring all their new dishes, including of course some grouse.
To begin, Matthieu suggested a glass of Champagne Fleury “Bolero” 2005 while we enjoyed with our canapés. I have always been very impressed with the wine selection by the glass as they go to great lengths choosing small interesting producers or wines using obscure grape varietals. This champagne was a great example, eschewing the big name producers for an excellent grower’s champagne. Fleury’s “Bolero” is made from 100% Pinot Noir and combined with the sunshine of the 2005 vintage, this made for a champagne which was very approachable.
With our glass of champagne in hand, we enjoyed a couple of canapés including my favourite Mushroom Beignet. The combination of earthy mushrooms and truffles is always a winner every single time especially with risotto rice which could not be more perfectly al dente. The beignet has the perfect combination of crisp exterior and oozing, unctuous interior. A definite crowd pleaser.
I‘m not a big fan of vegetarian dishes particularly in England where good quality vegetables are hard to come by. As such I was pleasantly surprised by an excellent dish of Stuffed Courgette with Pickled Carrots. The vegetables were brought to life by a little lime and greek yoghurt – the acidity a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the vegetables. Vegetarians eating here will not feel short-changed.
One of my favourite dishes of the evening was the excellent Veal Sweetbread with Pea Risotto & Feta. I always find sweetbreads a real treat to eat when done well (i.e. crispy yet melt in your mouth) and the pairing with a pea and mint risotto seasoned with flecks of salty feta was simply inspired.
Naturally the main reason we were here, Grouse with Blackberries, was the star of the night. As you would expect, the bird was cooked a beautiful perfect pink and garnished with a few blackberries providing balancing acidity. A lovely touch was serving the grouse offal as an intense pate on a little crouton which has to be the best part of the dish.
To finish, we were offered a variety of puddings including an excellent Pistachio parfait with Chocolate & Cherries. This was Marcus’ take on a Black Forest Gateau and a successful one too as this dessert packed all the flavour of the classic dish elevated by ethereal lightness.
After a cup of coffee and the mandatory petit fours, and the little of the bill sorted, we popped in to the kitchen to thank Marcus for yet another excellent meal. Little did we know that this would be our last meal here with him at the helm as we found out soon after that he would be leaving Pied à Terre to head up the kitchen at Oblix. We wish him the best of luck in his new venture. Pied à Terre will no doubt continue to thrive given the business savvy of restaurateur David Moore.