L’Autre Pied, the sibling restaurant of Michelin-starred giant Pied à Terre, nevertheless holds its own against its more illustrious relative when it comes to the cooking. We visited on a Friday lunchtime and were very surprised to see how empty the restaurant was. All of about five tables were taken, but the emptiness is in no way a reflection of the quality on offer here.
Head Chef Marcus Eaves, a protégée of boss and gastronomique hard-hitter Shane Osborn, earned L’Autre Pied its first Michelin star after just fourteen months at the helm. The service is smooth and polite, and although the bread selection is somewhat mundane (Larry reported his roll to be suspiciously past its best), the food is an absolute bargain considering a three-course set lunch will cost you all of £20.95, and that’s in the centre of Marylebone and the West End.
A starter of pea velouté with a slow cooked quail’s egg in breadcrumbs was a delicious summery sensation, packed with flavour and deeply pleasing. The main course continued in the same spirit with a roasted breast of Cornish lamb, glazed carrots and a potato and tarragon mash (or ‘pomme purée’, if you want to be pretentious). Following the ethos that Osborn employs at Pied à Terre, namely superb ingredients, executed with finesse and beautifully presented, the grub at L’Autre Pied fully deserves its Michelin star.
The meal wobbled slightly on the desserts, of which we could choose from a chunk of cheddar or a selection of sorbets. We felt this was ever so slightly lazy and that a pudding of a higher order should’ve been on offer, but when the sorbets came we were all very pleased with the selection.
The choice of vino was predictably intimidating but surprisingly well priced. We plumped for a Languedoc red for a mere £18.40, a syrah from Domaine La Croix Bell, a small family-run vineyard, and it was a sterling selection (picked by Stirling, funnily enough). With deep, velvety notes of coffee, chocolate and roast spices, it complemented the lamb very well.
As decor goes, it wasn’t really to my taste; too much wood veneer that gave it the atmosphere of an IKEA showroom. The tables are a bit close together too, but as a down-to-earth eatery catering for the lunchtime crowds (despite their absence on this day), L’Autre Pied is positioned aptly. Owners David Moore and Shane Osborn also run a restaurant consultancy, and L’Autre Pied has been planned with great commercial care. It’s not so pretentious or highbrow that it would scare off the quick-fix lunchtime diners who might otherwise go for a meal at Strada, but it throws enough heavyweight punches from the kitchen to keep the die-hard foodies wanting more.
I would encourage all readers to pop in here for bite. With such a great value set lunch and pre-theatre menu, there really is no excuse to miss out. The food is so good, in fact, that I’d happily pay full price for the à la carte too.