I envy the people who live and work near Charlotte Street, the atmosphere in this area is always jovial and the restaurant choices are endless. Pied a Terre is one of London’s longest standing Michelin star eateries, and is conveniently located halfway down Charlotte Street.
Unlike many of London’s foodie venues, Pied a Terre is not a passing food trend but rather an institution that has evolved gradually to offer refined French food in a sophisticated contemporary dining room. The restaurant is discreet and smart, a private place to enjoy delicious food and catch up with friends or hold business lunches.
The decor at Pied a Terre is smart and grown up with a splash of creativity. The space is small so there is not much for them to work with but it is a pleasant and comfortable place to sit and feast. When we visited on a weekday lunchtime the room was quiet, and it seemed a shame that it was so empty, but perhaps it comes to life in the evening…
Pied a Terre opened in 1991 under the guidance of David Moore, in the last 27 a host of chefs have led the kitchen team, and last September Asimakis Chaniotis took over from Andy McFadden, who had been head chef for 10 years.
There is an impressive a la carte menu on offer every mealtime, but at lunchtime diners can also enjoy a reasonably priced lunch menu (£29.50 for two courses or £37.50 for three). Unlike many fine dining restaurants, Pierre a Terre also prides itself on offering elaborate and special dishes for vegetarians and vegan diners.
After a glass of wonderful champagne and moreish bread we moved onto our first course. Chicken wing cannelloni with Piquillo Peppers was a light summery starter. Perfectly cooked poultry with a spicy warmth from the peppers, and served with crunchy green beans and fresh salad. My starter was beautiful, Quail with yuzu, presented smoking on a bed of pine needles. It was a large portion of crispy skinned meat with a creamy risotto, a lovely combination, but more of a main course in my opinion.
Main courses were rich and wonderful… exactly what you would expect in a French Michelin star restaurant. The Oxford Black and Sandy Pork with Datterini tomatoes, fermented garlic polenta and black curry was the star of the show. The cubes of pork were served with irresistibly crunchy pork fat and the vibrant tomatoes contributed some much needed tanginess. The polenta was slightly stodgy in texture with the rich pork, but flavoured immaculately with fermented garlic. Fish lovers will enjoy the Scorched Cod with capers, crushed potatoes and Pak Choi. This pretty plate of food champions the fish, cooked in a lemon beurre noisette emulsion and sprinkled with edible flowers.
The service throughout our meal at Pierre a Terre was brilliant and truly memorable. The sommelier took my comments on board and offered me a wine which suited my meal and my tastebuds. I loved my glass of Chenin Blanc from Chateau de la Roulerie so much I’m considering buying some to have at home. The wine was creamy and dry with a soft but fresh finish.
Desserts were the highlight of the meal, simpler in style but perfect in taste. The Green Apple mille-feuille was constructed with expertly light pastry, subtly flavoured cream and a palate cleansing sorbet. The seasonal take on Strawberries and Cream was also a success with us. It was deconstructed on the plate with Gariguettes Strawberries, crème Diplomate, flavours of olive oil and mint espuma. It was a lovely plate combining sweet and sour ingredients with soft and crunchy elements.
Though Pierre a Terre is a little dated in style, their offering would appeal to any food lover. I was delighted to discover that both the full a la carte and lunch menu are given equal importance, so you will receive an exceptional meal, no matter what your budget is.
More information and book a table at Pied a Terre here.