As i’ve mentioned before, I enjoy food that is simply done and favours quality over quantity. I know that if I peel fresh ruby red tomatos and leave them to marinate in some excellent olive oil with salt, pepper and a lot of finely chopped basil for a few hours before adding it to hot, steaming pasta, I will satisfy myself and others with a beautifully uncomplicated and delicious thing. I don’t enjoy rich and unnecessary sauces and I like only the bare minimum to appear in my food. When I went to L’Autre Pied I was shocked to see so much ‘foam’ and ‘jus’ on the menu. I thought I was in for an unsatisfying and hunger inducing lunch of pretentious portions and sickly confits but I was actually very pleasantly surprised.
I haphazardly navigate to my seat between two very adjacent tables, where my rear end threatens to send the next door diners glasses crashing to the floor. I say next door but I really mean on top. Already I am assailed by an enforced intimacy which I found very awkward especially as the poor chap was waiting a good half an hour for his guest to arrive and really couldn’t help eaves dropping.
Aesthetically, L’Autre Pied is fresh modern and wholly inoffensive. Oriental wall hangings prettify what could be a rather austere room with its hard lines and muted toned walls. The tables are plain, wooden and unadorned with tablecloths although there was a lot of facetious cutlery and oddly shaped glasses which made me nervous when shuffling out of the tiny cranny. Despite the unwanted sharing of conversation, I really can’t fault anything else. Although the sumptuousness of the food didn’t seem to fit the coolness of our surroundings, it was exquisite.
A fairly unamusing bouche.
Very beautifully presented and freshly baked bread with olive tapenade.
Open raviolo of confit pork, ragout of white beans, pea and horseradish foam, pea shoots
This dish ensued a very bad case of food envy here and it really was a triumph. In fact i’d say it was the best dish of the meal. The pork was so soft and sweet and worked perfectly with the creaminess of the beans whilst the crisp, sharp pea shoots cut perfectly through the heaviness. Melt in your mouth and infinitely memorable.
Chilled Courgette Velouté, Feta Cheese, Hazelnuts, Roscoff Onion, Basil Oil.
All the textures and tastes worked perfectly here and each individual element could be tasted and felt separately making this an exciting but wonderfully light and fresh starter. The hazelnuts were such an unusual touch and their sweet, earthy crunchiness for me, was the highlight of this well balanced dish.
Pressed Belly of Suckling Pig, Tender Stem Broccoli, Bergamot Lemon Purée, Pink Grapefruit Sauce.
The name of this plate is almost too long to say in one breath but look how beautiful it was. I normally find that pork belly calls for a slightly more rustic appearance rather than overly stylised, however the perfectly blistered skin and creamy meat were both done well. It definitely could have done without the sour sauces though.
Poached Lemon Sole, Jersey Royal Potatoes, Baby Gem Lettuce, Cucumber Velouté
Well cooked lemon sole although it was drenched in butter and a lot of lemon which was slightly too rich and overpowering for this already densely flavoured fish. Again it looked lovely but I’d forgotten it almost before i’d eaten it and then spent the rest of the course gazing longingly at my boyfriends pork.
Spice bread terrine with salted caramel reduction and cinnamon ice cream.
Pudding, especially my rhubarb baked alaska (below) were a joy to both eye and tastebud and the petit fours served with coffee were enchanting. The only disappointment was that it took longer to read out their description on the menu than it did to eat them.
Baked Alaska, Poached Yorkshire Rhubarb, Cardamom Ice Cream
Hot molten chocolate biscuits.
Despite having to lapdance my way into and out of our table and pretty much having a lunch for five instead of two, I thought our meal at L’Autre Pied was very pleasurable and I left neither stuffed and bloated or hungry for more. It was just right. For all the veloutes, assiettes, foams and emulsions I felt that the main element of each dish stood out without there being the need for all the elaborate trimmings. Despite the ornate and complex food, the designer cutlery and the pretty waitresses, I cant help feeling that it lacked somewhat, the most important component of all, a little charm.
5-7 Blandford Street
London W1U 3DB
020 7486 9696