The visually stunning Baked Alaska
Last Monday was a revival of the Michelin-star supperclub that a trio of us at work have started up. The concept is rather simple: a michelin star restaurant every month, either for lunch or dinner. It’s a perfect Saturday afternoon filler but with summer holidays threatening and annual leave and diaries crammed, we had to look to a dinner and decided on L’Autre Pied.
L’Autre Pied is one of those restaurants that seems to be quite hit and miss according to the food bloggers of the world. Some reviews were glowing, others were quite crushing, and it was with some trepidation that I got to the rather chic entrance in Marylebone. Some of you might know its history but I’ll do a small recap: L’Autre Pied is the sister restaurant to the 2 Michelin Star Pied-a-Terre which is located in the swanky Fitzrovia and owned by the Pied Group. It was also subject to some notoriety earlier this year when a couple ran out without paying their £500+ bill. Naughty naughty…
On to the restaurant itself. On arrival, the staff were welcoming and showed us to our seats. We were early so the restaurant was quite empty but it gave me a chance to have a nose. The layout is a little awkward and the tables quite close together; I was glad, in many ways, to have been there early and not rubbing elbows with other diners. The toilets were rather inconveniently down a set of narrow spiral stairs but other than that minor gripe, it was decorated nicely and had a nice ambience to the place.
We decided to go for two courses on the set menu followed by an a la carte dessert as the ones on the menu weren’t for us. Some warm bread was brought out for us to pick from as we had a look at the menu - I opted first for artisan followed by some sweet onion bread/brioche that was simply scrumptious.
Open raviolo of braised beef
The pre-theatre menu isn’t too expensive - 2 courses is a respectable £18.95 and 3 courses comes to a very affordable £22.50. For a starter we all opted for an ‘open raviolo of braised beef, lightly smoked sabayon, baby onions and puffed wild rice’ as it sounded mouth-wateringly good. The reality didn’t disappoint and we were soon eating rich, savoury beef in its own gravy combined with delicate pasta and a delightfully light sabayon. I had a slightly ‘wetter’ beef than my other two diners and thought the beef slightly overpowered the other more subtle flavours but was shouted down on this so perhaps it was just because my beef had more juices. There was also some crispy onions on top of the dish that were crumbly and a great contrast in texture to the other silkier components.
The vegetarian option - goat’s curd
We were split for the main course and two of us opted for ‘middle white pork, crushed apple, lemon puree, black olive, walnut and sage jus’ whilst our friend, not a fan of pork, went for ‘roast fennel, jersey royal potatoes, goats curd, garlic puree and parsley oil’. I’m glad to say the pork won on this but the vegetarian option was also extremely nice. The pork was cooked well with the meat almost melting in your mouth. As you can see from the pictures, we had two lots of pork plus crackling on the plate - Not a stingy amount for a main. I really didn’t like the lemon puree with the well, apple sauce, to put it bluntly. It tasted like a lemon tart had fallen on my plate and I scraped it well away as I found it off-putting and jarring with the other flavours. The vegetarian option was much lighter but flavoursome nevertheless. I only had a mouthful of it but the goats curd had a surprising bite to it which made the tastebuds sit up and say hello.
A delicious-looking white pork dish!
For dessert, we all did our own thing. Between us we had ‘vanilla parfait, coconut foam, compressed pineapple and a citrus filo’ (£6.95); ‘glazed custard tart, lime and olive oil puree and raspberry sorbet’ (£7.50) and, last but not least, ‘baked Alaska, macerated English strawberries and vanilla ice-cream’ (£7.50). They were all spot on. I’m not a pudding person by nature, usually being won over by pungent cheeses instead of a custard tart, but I decided to indulge and the custard tart was creamy and custard-y, with raspberry sorbet providing some much needed tartness and tang. The olive oil and lime puree was a nice addition but didn’t bring much more to the table. The baked Alaska visually was stunning and according to my friend, tasted exactly as it should with amazing accompanying strawberries to boot. The vanilla parfait was too sugary for my tastes but judging by all three clean and empty plates, desserts went down a treat.
An exceptionally colourful custard tart
So what did I think of it? I’d go back again, especially with their pre-theatre deal as it’s really amazing food. The drinks are a little pricey (£8.40 for a large glass of merlot), there’s too much ‘puree’ and ‘foam’ on the menu, and the staff are more distant than I would like but a restaurant, for me, is all about the experience and I had a great one. It didn’t work out expensive on this trip at around £38/head with a tip included but could see it getting pricey if you go off the set menus.
Address: L’Autre Pied, 5-7 Blandford St, W1
Telephone: 020 7486 9696