Saturday, 5 December 2015

Piquet, Fitzrovia

Beetroot & goats cheese
For a few weeks I'd been hearing increasing buzz about Piquet. Well, maybe not buzz. More of a well-mannered murmur of appreciation and licking of well-fed lips. People whose opinions on food I respect were saying it was very nice. And grown-up. You could book a table and drink out of actual glasses. Then I also saw a suggestion that it was going to be reviewed by the big guns, so decided I needed to go while it was still possible to get in.

We chose the "Discover Piquet" menu option, at £29.95 for three courses and a welcoming drink. I started with a heritage beetroot salad, goat’s cheese mousse, black figs and hazelnuts - comfortable in the knowledge that Jude can't bear goat's cheese, so I wouldn't have to share. Beetroot and goat's cheese is such a safe combination, but this was beautifully composed, with the leaves, figs and toasted hazelnuts adding extra dimension. The slices of golden beetroot confused me, because even though I knew it was beetroot my eyes kept telling me it was persimmon and my palate didn't know what to think.

Jude had celeriac velouté, trompette mushrooms, of which I didn't get anything approaching an acceptable photo. The presentation elevated the soup, poured from a jug around the black mushrooms, but the flavour lived up to the theatre.

I had chicken with a wild mushroom raviolo and salsify as my main course. The portion was a touch on the dainty side but it was the most wonderfully chicken-flavoured chicken I've had in ages. The salsify was lovely - it's such a pain in the arse to prepare that I am always happier to have someone else do it. Unfortunately the raviolo was a bit underdone and firm to the bite.

Jude definitely won the main course round. Her casserole of cod cheeks, baby squid & chorizo, haricot blanc and chopped herb oil was a more generously sized portion, the little squidlets on top were perfectly crisp and the cod cheeks sweet and delicate.

We'd both ordered gin and tonics when we arrived, so one of the (well trained, very lovely) waiters offered us glasses of cava instead of the house cocktail included in the menu.  And very nice it was too. So good, we had seconds with our desserts.

Jude finds it very difficult to go past iles flottante on a dessert menu. So she didn't even try. It wasn't as pretty as the one they do at Brasserie Zedel (they use those bright pink sugared almonds as the garnish), but it was good.

My baked almond tart was utterly gorgeous. Thin, crisp pastry, a thin layer of something like powidl, then a lovely frangipane filling and some not-too sweet prunes. It was served warm with whipped cream on the side. Classic and wonderful. Just like the rest of Piquet.

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