Wylde Revisits: Pied à Terre
Review by David Newton / Photography by Etienne Gilfillan
London’s reputation as a world centre for fine dining is now well-established, with a liberal scattering of Michelin stars to prove it, and one of Wylde’s favourite dining destinations, Pied à Terre, is one of the longest-standing recipients of the coveted star, gaining it just one year after opening, all the way back in 1991, gaining an extra one five years later. Owner David Moore has overseen the fledgling careers of now-household-name chefs – including Tom Aikens – and we decided to revisit this haven of modern French cuisine in London’s rapidly-gentrifying Fitzrovia, to sample the skills of current head chef Asimakis Chaniotis (who, just as this was written, received notification that his genius had secured a Michelin star).
We visited in late September, with the chill winds of Autumn already in the air, and were delighted to find this reflected in the menu: the selection of dishes had a beautifully seasonal feel: gamey and rich (if one so wished) but also with plenty of lighter options. I had what the restaurant terms its “Signature Starter”: Smoked Quail with Celeriac, Autumn Truffle, Hazlenut and Confit Egg Yolk. Stunning; almost Autumn on a plate. My dining companion had the Chalk Stream Trout Raviolo with King Oyster, Ceps and Horseradish Vin Jaune… another triumph, the raviolo’s translucence giving a hint of the delicious pink fish inside.
My main course was the inventive Seabass cooked with its scales – boiling oil is poured over the fish and the skin bubbles and crackles in the mouth (I decided it was like eating tiny crunchy bubble-wrap!) This came with Cauliflower, Vanilla, Sea Vegetables and XO Sauce… fresh and satisfying. Autumn returned with a bang with my companion’s Young Grouse with Salt-Baked Beetroot, Port, Chicken Liver and Onion Marmalade Club Sandwich… dark, rich, intense… he was raving about it.
There was just about room for dessert and I loved my Lime Mousse: three blobs of sharp, intense citrus (just how I like it) on the plate. My companion’s “Sarah’s Waffle” was also delicious: with Green Apple, Vanilla & Lime Espuma, Bacardi & Lemon Jelly and Spéculoos Ice Cream. Both quite summery dishes… the season was represented by the delicious blackberry sorbets we had as appetisers at the beginning of the meal.
The rosy-cheeked head chef Chaniotis came out to chat with us for a few minutes and led us through the thinking behind the dishes we’d had. His enthusiasm is infectious and displays a real passion for his art, which the smiling chap takes very seriously indeed. All in all, a beautiful meal composed of absolutely fresh, seasonal ingredients, joined together artfully, and quite often, surprisingly.
Pied a Terre 34 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2NH