One of Charlotte Street's best restaurants quietly celebrates unfussy fine dining in an informal setting
M y dining guest was surprised to discover that Pied a Terre is in Charlotte Street. Having worked one street away for three years, he had never realised it was there such is the unobtrusive entrance. But don’t make that mistake because if you miss it, you’ll be missing a treat. Once inside Michelin-star food awaits, served by enthusiastic staff who delight in describing every dish; each one was delivered with a beaming smile and a knowing look that says they have sampled it in the kitchen already and that you are in for something special.
The kitchen at Pied a Terre has seen some famous chefs in the past including Andy McFadden, Marcus Eaves, Richard Neat, Tom Aikens and Shane Osborn – and is now in the capable hands of Askimakis Chaniotis. His menu takes its cues from his Grecian upbringing while still maintaining the modern French highlights that has won the restaurant so many accolades.
The canapés are a feast for the eyes, radishes in a flower pot of olive ‘soil’, an egg shell filled with creamy, light-as-a-feather feta and oregano mousse and salmon in chilled white chocolate (rather bizarrely shaped into lips), weird to look at but tasted great! The bread selection was delicious, served with excellent olive oil. We ate some wonderful flaky cod with risotto and a tagliatelle with crab and squid ink splashed Jackson Pollack style over the plate – Instagram-worthy food at its best and pretty much all the other diners in the cosy dining room were seen snapping shots of their food as it arrived. The main course of Tamworth pork roasted on apple branches with sweetcorn and a hint of fennel definitely hit the spot as did the strawberry pana cotta with a little infused olive oil that kept it from being too sweet.
I love that vegetarians get treated to a selection of fantastic-sounding dishes, take note some other Michelin-star establishments, veggie diners on the next table raved enthusiastically about every one of their dishes as they arrived.
The knowledgable sommelier definitely enjoys his job delighting in pouring a selection of unusual wines without revealing the label, inviting you to guess at his choices. We went on a trip around the world with some interesting wines from Bulgaria, South Africa, Australia and Austria, all well-chosen to suit what we were eating.
I really enjoyed this unassuming restaurant. My foodie companion has already booked another table for dinner intending to sample the Chef’s Tasting Menu. Yes, you can spend a lot if you opt for the full-on tasting menu with matching wines but the three course lunch for £37.50 has to be one of the best value lunches of this calibre in London.
Review: Carole Hamilton