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Pied à Terre Tasting Lunch review with BuyaGift.
What’s your favourite ‘pick-me-up’ treat? A spa day? A posh afternoon tea? an indulgent lunch somewhere you’d never normally go? All of them work for me – and I love the fact that my friends and family can give me a voucher from BuyaGift with their idea of what I’d like, but I then have the freedom to pick a date and time that works for me – and to swap the voucher too if I get given a luxurious afternoon tea when I’m dieting! What really impresses me about the BuyaGift range is the inclusion of some famous and hard to book restaurants like Michelin starred Pied à Terre. Booking was easy – I was sent an electronic voucher and simply had to phone to arrange a date and time. I took the voucher along with me (recommended) and there were no issues with our lunch deal at all. Though we did indulge in a little extra – read on to find out more…
On my wish-list since it first opened in 1991, London is so full of great restaurants that it’s taken me till now to actually visit. Pied à Terre has held at least one Michelin star since 1993 and has now become part of the fabric of Fitzrovia. It has a reputation for excellent plant-based food and has a seven-course vegan menu! But, it’s the five-course lunchtime tasting menu we’ve come along to try, an offer which is available from BuyaGift at £149 for two, including a welcome drink each.
The dining area is split into a cosy front room and a slightly larger back room with 44 covers. Although the tables are close, the leather banquette style provides an intimate setting where your focus can be on the food and drink. There’s good olive oil on our table and some of the nicest olives I’ve eaten since I was in Crete last summer.
After a welcome glass of Cava Mas Macia, crisp and perfectly chilled, we take a look at the menu. My colleague is a pescatarian so the restaurant swaps out one of the dishes. It’s a reflection of the times that there is only one major change needed to accommodate his dietary requirements. It’s hard with this kind of meal not to ask for paired wines so we do just that, with no regrets.
Bread – sourdough, carob and focaccia – is served. I try my best to avoid but can’t help nibbling on some deliciously soft, salty focaccia.
A series of Greek-influenced snacks are clearly from the heart of Head Chef Asimakis Chaniotis. My tiny meatballs with a piquant lemon sabayon are swapped for a pillowy polenta with the same delicate sabayon.
Eggs Kayiana served in their shells are an elevated version of the classic Greek scrambled eggs with feta. Fragrant with oregano and carefully balanced with a little creamy salty feta the dish leaves even an eggnostic diner like me yearning for more.
There are tiny radishes buried in a black olive ‘soil’ and a delicious onion pie with cheese – an onion spanakopita as my part Greek colleague tells me, with great quality onions that leave a lingering finish.
And. a visually stunning Winter “Garden of Eden” with cep mushrooms, cep vinaigrette, purée baby vegetables and new potatoes. It’s the sort of dish that I’m reluctant to try in case the visual promise is compromised. No such disappointment here, we love the cool and delicate cep vinaigrette and the respectful treatment of the vegetables.
Another eye-catching service, Beurre Noisette Tranche Of Skate Wing is served on a bed of cauliﬂower couscous, black curry vanilla and seaweed and grapefruit foam.
The delicate skate is beautifully enhanced with a wonderful blend of fine couscous and a creamy seaweed sauce served at the table.
With our fish we enjoy a glass of Domaine de Miselle, a Colombard Gros Manseng blend from Gascony. Fresh full-bodied citrus notes enhance the vanilla dominant skate dish.
Next, the main dish – for me a show-stopping smoked quail with celeriac, winter truffles, Piedmont hazelnuts and olive oil confit egg yolk. A wonderful presentation and delicious flavour pairing, I’m only sad that I don’t find the confit egg yolk until I’ve eaten most of the quail.
My pairing is a full-bodied mouthful, Le Petit, Cabrières 2017 with plenty of black fruit and cranberry notes from the Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre blend.
Meanwhile, my pescatarian companion is enjoying a lemon sole with pommes purée, cranberries and bouillabaisse. The intensity of the bouillabaisse lifts the sweetness of the sole and the fish is complemented by the creamy potatoes.
It’s a rich fish dish and pairs perfectly with the French Basque Irouleguy, Herri Mina, 2016, a blend of Petit and Gros Manseng, and Petit Corbu with mineral and grapefruit notes
The pre-dessert of lime sorbet with beurre noisette streusel and greek yoghurt foam was excellent – the creamy sharp lime acidity made a perfect palate cleanser and a precursor for our next wine, Tokaji Late Harvest Classic Cuvée 2009 which was deliciously honey flavoured.
The dainty Plantation Pineapple Rum Baba with olive oil confit pineapple, clotted cream, coriander ice cream and caviar Maldon salt rounds off the meal nicely.
There are dainty homemade petit fours with coffee too, but after £45 per head of matched wines, I’ve given up on photography at this stage.
I love the fact that Pied à Terre has on its website that it is “Often described as the best restaurant in London”. It has stiff competition for that accolade but does win out for consistently excellent food, a cosy and yet refined setting and, within the world of Michelin starred restaurants, competitive pricing. We particularly appreciate the Greek touches from current head chef Asimakis Chaniotis and despite being a committed carnivore I’m personally intrigued by the vegan and veggie offerings.
To check out this and other great ideas for birthday, anniversary, Valentines or other occasions, see the BuyaGift Site
34 Charlotte St,
London W1T 2NH
Telephone 020 7636 1178
Looking for something less formal in Bloomsbury or Fitzrovia? We also recommend The Marquis Cornwallis, a friendly Gastropub or Dalloway Terrace, where you can pick between al-fresco or indoor dining.