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It’s a brave restaurateur who would take over a site as garlanded as what used to be Dabbous but having been co-owner, manager and sommelier of Pied à Terre, Mathieu Germond has built up a loyal following in Fitzrovia and beyond. The place is unrecognisable from its former life, not only in looks – the raw industrialism of Dabbous has been smoothed over with a lick of turquoise paint and an upholstering of red and grey velvet – but on the menu, with former Pied à Terre chef Ed Dutton cooking classic French bistro food, but executed with a finesse several notches of sophistication higher. Warm cheese gougères are thickly stuffed with strong Cheddar, glazed sweetbreads come with a liberal scattering of bosky morels, beautifully cooked scallops sit under thinly sliced cauliflower and, best of all, there’s a superb plateful of meltingly soft suckling pig belly with crisp crackling and silky, tarragon-infused pomme purée. Steep prices are generally worth it, although a terrine of foie gras, leek and pork simply advertised as ‘foie gras’ on the menu seemed disingenuous. Otherwise, this place is a charmer – Germond even nipped round to Pied à Terre to fetch some crackers for our plate of well-chosen cheese. Noizé, incidentally, is the name of a village in the Loire where Germond’s grandparents owned a farm, and the sparkling Vouvray is just one of the excellent Loire Valley wines on a list that can be sampled in the basement bar.
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