I recently ventured out for a spot of Michelin star dining, as one does. The restaurant of choice was Pied a Terre, which I think is French for “the Frenchest restaurant you will ever go to, in your life, ever”. Yes, Pied a Terre is probably Frencher than actual France is.
The staff are carved entirely of garlic, the tables rest atop giant baguettes and if you look closely you will see that the walls have been painstakingly constructed of thousands of compressed snails. This isn’t true, but it gives you some idea as to exactly how French this restaurant is. Very French.
The head chef, Marcus Eaves, is not French, but we will let that slide. He specialises in French-method cuisine, which is good enough.
We were greeted by ze waiter, who took ze coats with a typically French flourish and showed us to our table. It was a good one because it was my brother’s 21st and I had already made quite a kerfuffle about organising a cake beforehand.
We began with ze Champagne, which our sommelier told us all about. I can confirm he was definitely French. In other news he looked unnervingly like the sinister character from the Human Centipede, which I found quite distracting throughout the Champagne lesson.
In order to avoid the troublesome task of choosing what to eat we opted for the tasting menu. This is seven courses for £99. I am not supposed to eat gluten so had a gluten free version of it, which they were only too delighted to say was ‘no trouble at all’.
We began with a rather fancy bread basket, which I stared at longingly before being presented with some gluten free bread of my own which the waiter strangely claimed was from Tesco’s. I tasted it and am 99% sure it wasn’t, but remain baffled about why he would lie. All very odd.
Then there were canapés of scallops (non-gluten free versions were tempurafied). These were followed by a pre-starter of one scallop surrounded by avocado and jerusalem artichoke velouté (posh soup, very French).
The posh soup was one of the most delicious things I have tasted in my entire life and probably the best part of the meal. That doesn’t mean the rest of the meal tasted of awful, it was just really good soup.
Seared tuna was next up. This took a long time to arrive because “ze chef was not appy with ze tuna”. When it arrived all was forgotten, though, as it was quite possibly the most beautiful plate of food in all the world. The tuna was accompanied by wasabi and other blobs, satisfying my daily raw fish cravings nicely. Even the raw fish hating boy demolished his in a matter of moments, which is testament to the fact these Michelin folk appear to be able to make all food delicious, no matter how much you would ordinarily never ever choose to put it in your mouth. Having said that, I wouldn’t eat a Michelin egg.
Then there was duck foie gras which had been squashed with beetroot to make it stripey. Stripey and/or squashed food is what Michelin is all about. This arrived with my own slice of gluten free brown bread which was tucked up in a napkin like it was in bed. Oh this also tasted absolutely AMAZING. I’m not being sarcastic, it did.
And then we came to the fish. Sea Bass today, served in a lemongrass sauce tasting all of Thailand and fish and crunchy sea bass skin. I gobbled it up and awaited the next installment, which was the meat!
Hooray for the meat. Today’s meat was fillet of Beef with roasted onion and bone marrow. I think there was also some foie gras involved. I had consumed a vast quantity of wine by this point so couldn’t tell you to be honest.
Next up was cheese. A pyramid of crackers was presented at this point to lots of ooohs and aahhhs from the table. We received one goat’s cheese and one hard cheese, the names of which sadly escape me. I can tell you that the goat’s cheese was one of the finest I have ever tried and I am quite sad I didn’t remember the name for I’d quite like to eat it everyday for evermore. Best not though.
And then a pre-dessert, because you can’t just go roaring straight into dessert, you know. A mango sorbet cleansed our palates up before the real dessert arrived. Gluten people had chocolate for pudding, lucky lucky. I had poached pear with pear sorbet, which was tasty but it couldn’t really compare to something chocolatey, it would be unfair to expect it to.
And then there were petit fours, chocolate and jellies and tasty treats to go with our teas and coffees. But what’s that, the petit fours were followed by MORE petit fours? Yes they actually were. We had petit fours, thought we’d made it, started rubbing our bellies in jubilation at having passed this Henry VIII style challenge only to be presented with yet more food. We of course didn’t complain and rose to the challenge admirably, gobbling up mini doughnuts, chocolate truffles and chocolates filled with banana ice cream.
I then almost died.
Gluten Free? Yes, incredibly. A whole gluten free tasting menu can be provided complete with white AND brown bread.
The Verdict: One of the best, most delicious, and biggest meals of my life. We were eating for a good three hours and if my stomach could take it I’d happily do it all again. Expensive but perfect for special occasions.