The thing about highly publicised and acclaimed restaurants is that often, they fall short of expectations. When most of Londons leading food critics say, “This is terrific!”, your expectations soar and you end up expecting the cirque du soleil of dining experiences that all too often delivers the mobile roadside Carnival of experiences.
So, you can imagine my delight when I attended a press dinner of one such restaurant that actually delivered as promised… Hello Piquet by Allan Pickett.
Ask me why…. Because this place doesn’t over-egg its offering, but favours instead rich yet mass-appeal food.
Piquet is Chef Patron Allan Pickett’s first solo venture since training in a plethora of Roux restaurants. No big deal but his resume includes the 2 Michelin-starred* Le Gavroche (you can find the review on G&B), the Michelin-starred Orrery, L’Escargot and Chez Nico before taking Head Chef roles at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe and Plateau in Canary Wharf.
The other asset this place has is in General Manager (and resident charmer) Alain Morice. He could not be more informative and frankly his knowledge as a sommelier is overwhelmingly impressive.
We started with the Piquet Charcuterie Board – (Rillette, Terrine, Ham, Coppa, Toast & Pickles). As you know, I make no secret of my love for a meat board and this was a great way to lead us in. It was more-ish without being heavy and left us all wanting the next dish.
We also had the Colchester rock oysters served with shallot vinegar, fresh lemon and rye bread. Even for the Oyster-Apprehensive, these are particularly meaty and delicious.
The next was, for me, the joint winner. This was the Le Piggy Burger (Smoked Patty, Pulled Pork, Streaky Bacon, Chips). Try as they may, no one will convince me that there are too many things better than a great burger. It was incredibly indulgent and the bacon topped it off nicely…
They also had a pretty great Casserole of Cod Cheeks, Baby Squid, and Haricot Blanc. Imagine a cassoulet but with super soft cod cheeks instead of sausage or meat.
So, what was the other blue ribbon rosette holder? The Pigs Head Croquettes with Sauce Gribiche… Because… Well, if you don’t know, you probably should be vegan.
Gribiche is what I imagine would happen if Mayonaise and tartar sauce had delicious offspring. Made with actual cooked eggs, it has a far richer depth of flavour that gives the pigs head croquettes something to wrestle with..
Other dishes include the Pork Crackling, Picked Crab with Espelette Pepper and the Plancha Cooked Mackerel, Horseradish Cream
It’s worth mentioning also that the menu is ever changing and so frankly you can just keep going and always eating different things in the name of experimentation. The dishes mentioned are more or less permanent fixtures.
As Alain Morice offered to pair the dishes with individual wines, it would have been rude to say no… and I am a girl of impeccable manners… even after 6 glasses of paired wine.
The wines we had, included the Santiago Ruiz, O’Rosal Albariño, Rias Baixas, 2014, also the Casa de Passarella, A Descoberta Branco, Dao,2014 (Yes to this one).
We also had a Gutierrez Colosia, Amontillado Seco, which is a Sherry. I am not a huge sherry lover (probably something to do with a brief yet all too potent sherry tasting some years ago) but for me, this was pleasant and seemed to be very well received by all.
We finished with the ‘Le Piquet’ cocktail (Gin, Piquet sloe jam, plum bitters and Cava). This was a little strong for some people, but (perhaps quite tellingly) this was a real hit with me.
While the downstairs offers a more lengthy dining experience, it is also nice to have a more spontaneous restaurant upstairs.
So, if you’re looking for a long catch up dinner, a long lunch, or a pre theatre nibble, they’ve pretty much got you covered.
Piquet & The Fir Room: 92 Newman St, London W1T 3EZ