One Sixty. It’s an unusual name, not least because owner David Moore has thus far named his eateries after the French for feet (Pied à Terre, L’autre Pied, Pied Nus). But then again, One Sixty (which, in case you’re wondering, is the optimum temperature for slow-cooking meat) is a different story. It’s in West Hampstead, not W1; it’s laid-back, not la-di-dah; and the cooking is US smokehouse, not French fancy. But one thing that they really should have brought from les pieds was thoughtful staff.
On our 6.30pm visit, mains arrived before we’d even tried one of the starters (the chef, we were told, doesn’t wait for the industry-standard call of ‘mains away’, but judges for himself when to send the food out). Minutes later, with starters still going, staff came over to clear our plates. Only a terse request not to be rushed sent them scuttling away. Looking down at our menus, the urgency became clear – ‘table back by 8pm’ scrawled in biro, meaning we’d been allocated 90 minutes to eat, after which we’d better get the hell out.
All this is a pity, because the food is keenly priced, and plenty is done well. Buttery mash with smoked bone marrow was richer than Oprah; the meat on our slow-cooked pork ribs leapt voluntarily off the bone; own-made pickles and slaws cut nicely through the calories. Other dishes needed tweaking (delicately smokey ‘fish bites’, let down by a so-what tartare sauce), or skipping altogether (mini ‘doughnuts’ that were more like pebbles than pastries).
As we prepared to leave, a more senior waitress came over to insist that we hadn’t been rushed, asking that we 'don't worry about it’. A better name for this place: Pied dans la Bouche.