L’Autre Pied (March 2013)

Quite simply one of the best restaurant experiences I have had in London for some time, perhaps comparable to The Greenhouse, but without the formality. Full marks on almost all counts: amazingly fresh ingredients, beautiful presentation, friendly and knowledgeable waiting staff. If there were one quibble (which, arguably, may be part of the restaurant’s charm), the tables were perhaps somewhat too close together and given the passing traffic of waiters etc., the experience was not quite as intimate or romantic that it could have been. Nonetheless, both my dining comrade and I will definitely be returning, given the food and the wine. Both carnivores and vegetarians are well-catered for, with the latter having their own menu and a choice of three starters and three mains, a surprisingly rare feature among Michelin-starred restaurants. The highlight for me was the main of Sika deer cooked in cocoa and juniper, with black pudding, beetroot and watercress. The presentation was first class, the deer remarkably tender and juicy and the beetroot and watercress perfect foils. The wine we selected (a South African Pinot Noir made by Hamilton-Russell) was another stand-out, sufficiently supple yet gamey not only to go with the deer but also with my comrade’s aubergine sambal. Another feature we both loved was the cheeseboard. None of the obvious names featured here, and yet each had its own personality and history, carefully selected and explained to us by our server. The cheeses were brought to our table for sharing on a granite slab, presented in order of tasting (and hence strength), a very nice touch and a great note on which to conclude.