What it lacks in elbow room and statement design, L’Autre Pied makes up for with precision fine dining – the kind that makes you stop mid-conversation to murmur appreciative ahs and mmms.
Andy McFadden’s menu at this bijou version of sister restaurant Pied à Terre conjures up dainty yet intense dishes, at more accessible prices than its grown-up sibling (especially good value are the set menus). A riot of ingredients is packed into every mouthful, so a starter of beetroot risotto brought goat’s cheese, tapioca, ras el hanout and a micro hit of balsamic into the fray.
Mains are likewise accomplished balancing acts: a poached duck egg served with asparagus, tomato, onion seeds and crab bisque was the simplest dish on offer. Haunch of roe deer had a satisfyingly sweet counterpoint, courtesy of tea-marinated prunes.
In short, you need to like a certain level of complexity to get the most out of L’Autre Pied. And while the culinary artistry does the talking, the decor takes a back seat. A kind of modest chinoiserie punctuated by rosewood tables free of starched tablecloths, it lends itself to a casualness not usually associated with such consummate cooking.