By Zahra Al-Kateb
Nestled in the heart of Fitzrovia, restaurateur David Moore opened Pied a Terre in January 1992. Earning its first Michelin star just 13 months later, the restaurant was an instant success. He earned his reputation by working under the watchful eye of Raymond Blanc in his world renowned restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire. David is often seen front of house and known for his meticulous attention to detail, so I knew I was in for a treat.
Its subdued appearance and narrow entrance may initially leave an unassuming impression, but once inside it is clear Pied a Terre is no ordinary restaurant. The intimate dining space is adorned with artwork while the minimal and classy interior creates a cozy yet formal ambiance.
In celebration of Year of Mexico in the UK, British chef Marcus Eaves had joined forces with Mexican chef Jonatan Gomez Luna from Le Chique, an AAA Five Diamond restaurant located within the luxurious, award-winning Azul Sensatori Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The one-night special promised a unique combination of Mexican cooking and French cuisine.
I was immediately seated in the second dining room at street level, where I was offered a drink and presented a bread basket boasting a huge selection, from onion and sage brioche to walnut and pecan baguettes. After enjoying a selection of canapés, I was served mushroom and truffle soup with pickled celery and orzo, which was perfectly complimented by Mushroom Focaccia.
The second dish – and perhaps my favorite – was the avocado and guava salad. Aside from the plating being beautifully adorned with edible flowers, the refreshing salad offered an array of textures and was served alongside salted chips.
Next was Day Boat Turbot served alongside apricot jelly, cumin and chickweed. The apricot jelly provided a nice sweet contrast against this savory dish.
The poached white asparagus served alongside crushed Ratte potatoes, citrus sauce and baby wood sorrel made for a warm and comforting meal.
For dessert, a delightfully plated selection of strawberries, elderflower and yogurt provided a cool and refreshing choice.
Finally, the typically Mexican desert developed by Chef Jonatan Gomez boasted tascalate, chocolate textures and corn.
Attention to detail was impressive and the service throughout was second to none. I was particularly impressed with how accommodating the chef was of dietary requirements, offering a pescatarian alternative with some of the dishes.
Pied a Terre offers that rare balance of Michelin starred fine dining cuisine, without the pretentious atmosphere most find hard to relax in. Quietly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city, this restaurant is ideal for “getting away from it all”, and the friendly front of house staff succeed in offering calm and welcoming surroundings, just as Marcus Eaves succeeds in delivering delicious cuisine. And while they may be more traditional than trendy, they are certainly all the more better for it.