The restaurant: Pied a Terre, 34 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2NH
Pied à Terre has been going for 27 years, a very long time in restaurant years. The Fitzrovia institution, housed in a Charlotte Street townhouse, has held at least one Michelin star since 1993, making it one of London’s longest-standing Michelin restaurants. Richard Neat, Tom Aikens, and Shane Osborn are a couple of chefs who served under its two-star accolade in the ’90s. Now Head Chef Asimakis Chaniotis runs the kitchen, alongside established restauranteur and Pied à Terre owner David Moore. Its focus is gourmet fine dining across the board with a meat and fish menu, as well as vegan and vegetarian a la carte and tasting menu options.
As we stepped in, we were offered the choice of the front or back dining room; the former a quiet and intimate spot with a couple of tables, the latter a roomier space at the back of the restaurant. Upstairs, there is also a space for private dining, as well as a bar area. A sprawling flower mural takes over the side wall, with its blues, yellows and reds spilling into the rest of the interiors. A vast mirror lines the opposing wall, giving the impression the mural is painted on both sides. It’s cosy and comfortable without feeling cramped. The staff are quiet and reticent; by contrast the sommelier friendly and we enjoyed listening to him talk about the wines.
A blue egg box was the first thing to grace our table. The appetiser, consisting of hollowed out eggs packed with punchy feta mouse, tomato and oregano, set the Mediterranean tone of the evening. Seared cuttlefish was chewy and smoked, served with tiny tendrils of octopus on a ring of tightly packed spinach deeply flavoured with soy. A pool of thick, deep red and sticky sauce that was tipped into the centre oozed with a concentrated crab flavour with undertones of spice and woodiness. Tiny yellow flowers and winter tomatoes adorned the top, adding lovely hints of colour to the dish. This was paired with a fruity rosé wine that brought out and balanced the smokiness of the cuttlefish (Lunar Apogé Tavel 2017).
Oxford black and sandy assiette of pork, a plate of pork cooked five ways was our main course. A highlight was the pig’s head rolled up in a slither of carrot that carried a deeply meaty and salty taste, balanced with the simple sweetness of the carrot. A healthy pink-coloured hunk of pork belly wrapped in a thin slither of bacon was the favourite. Any thicker and the bacon would have overpowered the pork belly but this slither was just right. A warming full-bodied red with delicate fruit tones was a pleasant accompaniment (Les Baux de Provence Rouge 2012).
Dessert was a mille-feuille that twisted far from the classic vanilla slice. A tier of densely-packed forced rhubarb was topped with a layer of sweet, elderflower mousse. Generously dusted with icing sugar, the top layer of pasty was finished off with squirts of rich ivoire chocolate and candied pistachios. It was a rich mix of complex sweet and sour flavours, amongst delightful soft and crunchy textures.
Our visit gave us the chance to try some inventive dishes that did some very clever things in combining different flavours, while artfully building on classic French and Mediterranean cuisine. We left appreciating what we’d learnt a great deal about the dishes and wine pairings thanks to a good chat with Asimakis and our sommelier.
To book visit Pied-A-Terre.co.uk or call 020 7636 1178
For more date night inspiration, click here.