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|Address:||5-7 Blandford Street, London W1U 3DB|
|Tel:||020 3589 2099|
|Price: £60.00||Wine: £16.80||Champagne: £65.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-2.45pm (Sat -2.30pm Sun -3.30pm) Mon-Sat 6-10.45pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
The proposition was simple: choose a restaurant, book it for dinner for two and Square Meal would put down £250 towards it (the prize, along with a splendid bottle of Martell XO cognac for a previous review). The mind-bending task though was to choose the restaurant. I didn’t want somewhere with some celebrity chef’s name above the door who would, most likely, be in LA or Tokyo overseeing some far-flung outpost of his empire. I also wanted somewhere I’d not been to before. So I opted for L’Autre Pied in Marylebone. Foodie friends spoke highly of it, I’ve long loved its sister, Pied à Terre and, being of sentimental bent, the fact that it occupies what used to be Stephen Bull was a major plus – I virtually used to live there.
£250 is quite a healthy sum for dinner and I didn’t want simply to blow it on the wine’s mark-up so opted for the eight-course Tasting Menu (£62). A warm welcome and a glass of fizz on the house started the evening off promisingly even though we did appear to tucked away on a corner (company arrived in the form of a young couple more intent of feasting on each other than what the chef was sending their way; mercifully they calmed down when their friends arrived). Plentiful bread was offered frequently. I left the wine decisions to the sommelier.
A large glass of Gavi di Gavi accompanied a little tomato salad with gazpacho and lemon oil, then followed asparagus with mushroom beignets, and a gorgeous velouté of courgette, grass green with basil oil, and poured over a little pile of black olives, toasted hazlenuts and feta. A fish course of perfectly roast cod (just translucent) was accompanied by two little artichoke hearts. We moved to a terrific bottle of a Catalan red (Portal del Priorat Negre de Negres) for the meat – a perfectly cooked, and melting, pressed piece of suckling pig, the crackling as thin and crisp as the caramelised top of a crème brulée. (I could have eaten it twice over). A platter of six different French and English cheeses took care of the remainder of the red. To accompany the two puds, the sommelier brought us a different glass of sweet wine each (one Austrian, one French – the latter more complex but the former richly intense and very sweet). It helped the lemon possett and dreamy custard tart down a treat.
The menu was perfectly judged: ideally proportioned, as full of variety as one could have hoped for and the finale (the custard tart with a passion-fruit cream) was heavenly and truly comforting – with a sweetness that left one happy and satisfied. When I inquired whether we owed them anything we were informed that we’d spend £249! The staff was terrific, the manager friendly and enthusiastically knowledgeable about the food, and the sommelier (French) was clearly a master of his art. The decor is stylish and quietly modern. All in all, a wonderful meal and Stephen Bull must be happy that his old premises lives on and still offers food of a gloriously high standard that’s also mindful of the changing seasons. Next time, I'll pay the bill myself – with pleasure!