It is a brave restaurateur who would take over a site as garlanded as what used to be chef Ollie Dabbous’ eponymous restaurant, 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 is 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 a little disingenuous to us.
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. This is also a place for wine aficionados too, with the optional wine pairing being hailed by readers as “excellent and reasonably priced”. There is even the option to bring in your own bottles, which will be tended to and prepared by the team for a small corkage fee. 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.