Address: 5-7 Blandford Street, London, W1U 3DB
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7486 9696
As the swanky, Michelin two-starred Pied a Terre is not open for lunch on Saturdays, we decided to visit its Michelin one-starred sister restaurant, L’Autre Pied instead.
L’Autre Pied is a laid-back, contemporary French restaurant located on Baker Street. The restaurant is small and the tables are set very close to each other, but the use of mirrors redeems the dining area by making it appear more spacious. The waiters are young and friendly, and we find the contemporary menu creative and inspiring. We ordered their set lunch menu priced at £22.50 for 3 courses, which was very economical.
We started off with the amuse-bouche, which was a pumpkin and ginger foam, sprinkled with black sesame and chives. Although I have complained about the prevalent use of foam in dishes at modern French restaurants (for example, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (London) and Petrus (London)), this pumpkin foam was less boring than others, as it incorporated oriental ingredients such as ginger, black sesame, which gave the foam more flair. The pumpkin taste was strong, and its texture was nicely creamy.
For appetiser, I ordered the risotto of butternut squash, cooked in a lemongrass sauce. The risotto was well cooked and had an excellent consistency, and the taste of the butternut squash was striking. The toasted pumpkin seeds and shaved pecan nuts added a lively crunch to the risotto, and the lemongrass sauce was refreshing.
I also tried the marinated pollock ceviche, served with avocado creme fraiche, pomegranate and cucumber and crispy rye bread. I adore ceviche (see the ceviche at Tango (Hong Kong)) in general, and this marinated pollock ceviche was a bundle of delight, and the pomegranate and cucumber added bright flavours. The pomegranate and the crispy rye bread ensured that the dish was sufficiently crunchy, and the creaminess of the avocado creme fraiche complemented the rest of the ingredients and completed this dish.
Having tried the creative appetisers, we happily moved on to our main course, but we were quite disappointed by the haunch of Sika Deer, with celeriac purée, baked crapaudine beetroot, thyme and walnut sauce. The deer haunch (i.e. back leg) was way too heavy for lunch time. I assume that the celeriac purée was meant to help cut through the heaviness of the meat, but this was not achieved. This main course definitely did not live up to the standards of the appetisers.
For desserts, all of us ordered the Agen prune and armagnac tart, served with toasted almonds, golden raisin purée and tonka bean ice cream. While the tonka bean ice cream had a nice flavour, the tart tasted bland and its texture was too soft. The tart itself was certainly not sweet enough, and it did not help that the golden raisin purée was not very sugary either.
While the appetisers were delicious, everything we ate thereafter was mediocre. While the dishes here are creative and thoughtful, they need better execution in order for this restaurant to stand out.