Unless someone has specifically told you in hushed tones to head to the first floor of 3 Henrietta Street, Pivot is likely to go under most people’s radar. But, then again, maybe that’s a good thing. The cosy, terracotta-walled restaurant probably couldn’t seat more than 30 people per sitting and overlooks Covent Garden’s piazza – we recommend requesting a window seat when booking. It’s Scottish chef Mark Greenaway’s debut London venture and, if you ask us, is all the more intriguing for being kept a secret for as long as it can.
The menu options are two-fold, four or six-courses, both of which pivot (get it?) every month in line with what’s in season, so don’t get too attached to anything you eat here. This is fine dining, yes, but stifled and restrained it most certainly is not. Greenaway successfully injects every course with frivolity and theatre so that mushrooms on toast is, of course, not simply mushrooms on toast.
We watched with apprehension as our waiters carried a whole mushroom ‘tree’ to the table, complete with scissors and tweezers to trim the mushroom 'branches’ from the forest-like growth. Paired with truffle butter and crisp sourdough, the starter was a build-your-own situation and a jolly good time.
Of our remaining courses, lobster and halibut with seaweed and a creamy lobster bisque stood out, combining succulently soft textures and subtle flavours to create an understated (in a good way) main.
Greenaway’s skill with desserts was emblematised in the sweet course titled ‘Chocolate’, of which various carefully-placed splodges of mousse, kumquat jam and, yes, chocolate sit beneath a sesame brittle halo. It was a marvel to look at and not too sweet, although we could be really pedantic and say there were a few too many flavours competing on one plate.
We do regret not trying the Waffle Sandwich, a wistful dessert filled with bramble ice cream and rice crispies, but there’ll be a whole new menu again next month. We’ll just have to come back.