Review: L’Autre Pied – One Michelin Star in Marylebone
Published 19 July 2010
Recently I came across what I thought was a really good deal for L’Autre Pied, a One Michelin Star restaurant just off Marylebone High Street. As with most good restaurants in London, L’Autre Pied has always been on my radar, and when Lastminute.com were offering a 5-course meal for £21, and on a weekend, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.
L’Autre Pied is a French restaurant, and its quite hard to miss it with its location on a quiet side street. Inside, the decor is the standard modern style, with lots of wood paneling and smart wooden tables and chairs. Most interestingly, the tables all had a rectangle of rubber wood, acting like a placemat, one of the more innovative yet functional tables I’ve seen at a restaurant.
We ordered drinks; as this was purely a quick lunch before another engagement, we both ordered juice. I was disappointed to find that my apple juice (£3.50) came in an extremely small whiskey glass, and my dining partner’s pineapple juice (£3.50) in the same small portion. Worse of all, it wasn’t fresh juice, but clearly from concentrate, one of those long-life juice boxes. The ultimate shock was that my partner’s pineapple juice was really off, so much so that it smelled and tasted like it has been fermenting in its carton for a long time. The saving grace was that they were quick to replace it when we complained, but for a Michelin starred restaurant, serving off juice is a really big no-no.
Our summer-inspired 5-course meal consisted of 2 starter dishes, a main course, and 2 desserts, and while each of the dishes were tasty, we were a bit disappointed that there was no choice to make, particularly for the main course. We were asked if the menu was suitable, and I guess if one was vegetarian or allergic to one of the ingredients, a specially made dish could be prepared. But still, part of the joy of going to a restaurant is choosing from a variety of dishes, quite like going shopping and having a choice of colours, shapes, etc.
The first course was Gazpacho Granita, Confit Tomato, Black Olives. Alrighty, no flowery language, no French involved, just the ingredients in plain English, black and white. And voila, that was what was served. This was the first time I had gazpacho in granita form, and it had a light, barely noticeable tomato taste, but interestingly had a cool cucumber taste which I wonder if it was intentional or not! Served with diced tomatoes and sliced black olives, it was a good first starter after stepping in from the hot sun, and I just wished there was more of it!
The second course was a Chilled Carrot and Ginger Soup, Seville Orange, Cristallized Ginger, Coriander Dress. This for me was the most impressive dish of the 5-course summer menu, and the sweetness of the carrot soup mixed with bits of crystallised ginger: heaven!
The main course was a substantial portion of Roasted [chicken] Breast, Confit Leg of Poussin, Poached Lettuce, Gratin Dauphinois, Smoked Goats Milk. The meats were nothing special, and the whole dish was a bit disappointing after the two very creative and tantalising starters. The only creativity seen in this dish was the Gratin Dauphinois, with very thinly sliced potatoes, stacked like in a lasagne, with a creamy sauce to go with it.
For dessert, we had the Elderflower and Mint Granita, Raspberry Sorbet, which I felt was really good, but is the kitchen’s creativity pool so shallow that granita has to be served twice in the same 5-course menu? The Milk Chocolate Mousse, Thai Basil Ice Cream at least ended the meal with a delightfully interesting ice cream flavour, that rarely ever creeps into dessert menus but really should more often. The chocolate mousse though was slightly average, and seemed more like an accompaniment to fill out the plate than to complement the basil ice cream. It would have been nice to have something more solid, and perhaps extend the Italian flavours – oregano cookies perhaps?
Verdict: We left L’Autre Pied feeling slightly disappointed, despite getting glimpses of the creative talent that garnered the sole Michelin Star. Perhaps it was because we were having the cheap £21 5-course menu from Lastminute.com, but a restaurant of their reputation shouldn’t be running cheap meal promotions if the standards have to slip. The shocking pineapple juice fiasco was forgotten by the end of our meal, but will also always remain with us when we think of L’Autre Pied.
Cuisine: French style with a modern twist and Italian influences
Price: £21 for a 5 course lunch menu (through lastminute.com)
Address: L’Autre Pied, 5-7 Blandford Street , Marylebone, London W1U 3DB
Reservations/booking tel: 020 7486 9696
Official website: www.lautrepied.co.uk