Restaurants & Bars

L'Autre Pied, Marylebone, London

limster | Jan 18, 200912:51 PM     3

A soup that relies on the classic combination of sweet wintry chestnut and savoury mushroom (chantarelle, iirc), with nice pieces of chestnuts, along with a centrepiece of julienned cabbage and an extra bit of depth from the not-so classic smoked goat's milk, almost fluffed up and foamy. The texture of the soup is pretty good - smooth, without any grainy quality that might come from the chestnuts, albeit a little starchy, perhaps from the reduction process. I wouldn't mind if the chestnut flavour was more intense, but it was well balanced against the earthy mushroom and the subtle smokiness of the goat's milk.

A moderately sized slab of pan roasted fish (bream?) was crispy on the surface and moist, bolstered by a celeriac puree, batons of salsify that snapped beautifully, a scatter of mushrooms (chantarelles?) - little golden umbrellas, and a slice of Umbrian black truffle, pleasant against the fish. A good composition. A slightly fumy NZ pinot gris, rich but on the dry side, worked really well against the fish, its acidity coming into play.

Lots of moving parts with the pan roasted piece of foie gras - sweetness (caramelised onion, shards of caramelised sugar) and fruity acid (julienned apple) as a counterpoint to the fat, cold (apple sorbet) against its warmth, myriad textures (brittle caramel shards, a firm but still chewy gelee that was to have been earl grey flavoured iirc, although the flavour was faint for me, crisp apple, soft apple sorbet). The foie itself was well cooked, scored on the surface, given to a few dark shadings of caramelisation, not oozing with oiliness, the liver still firm. A juracon paired well here - not excessively rich or sweet as to compete with the entourage of the foie, but a nice cleansing sort of acidity that was surprisingly refreshing.

A good roasted partridge (could perhaps be a tiny tiny shade more tender, but that's nitpicking); a celeriac puree again (iirc), a good classic complement to various types of poultry and game birds; savoy cabbage in cream which always feels too heavy, emphasizing the cream over the cabbage; excellent little turnips and beets, perfect expressions of their vegetable selves; nubs of lentils and beneath a judicious amount of sauce, probably a red wine reduction of some sort. The languedoc that it was paired against was straightforward, and while not very complex, was very well balanced, and drank without much roughness.

Well conditioned cheeses - a (Sardinian?) sheep's milk cheese (iirc) just the right softness, coated with herbs (perhaps a lavender note somewhere); and an ashy textbook example of a goat's cheese. Loved the pear and apple compote as an accompaniment to the cheeses - whiffs of something perfumy - perhaps vanilla and a bit of citrus, some undertone of spice, maybe cinnamon.

Layers of mousse - chocolate, coffee and a puffy nougat at the top with hazelnuts, a decisive and delicious combination.

A pleasant crumble (apple & blackberry iirc), soft cooked fruit alternating with crispy crumbs and topped with a huckleberry sorbet was very smooth - contrasts of hot fruit crumble to cold sorbet and crunchy bits against different forms of softness. A muscatel from Malaga, its hint of zesty citrus lovely against the berries.

A reasonably priced 7 course tasting at £52, with a few thoughtful creative touches that were pleasant even if they weren't revelations. The food I had was well prepared, the kitchen's technique solid. Friendly, easy-going but attentive and professional service.

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