Time Out says
Please note, Piquet is now closed. Time Out Food editors, September 2016.
French food – what’s that? For every French restaurant that opens in London, there are a dozen barbecue dens, four noodle joints and two Mexican-Macedonian vegan cocktail bars. So Piquet is bucking the trend. Chef Allan Pickett – English for Piquet, hence the restaurant’s name – is from Kent, but Piquet is as French as a brie-filled baguette in a beret. Not surprising once you know he’s been through some of London’s best French eateries, including Orrery in Marylebone and Galvin Bistro De Luxe.
Piquet resides in the unlovely area being knocked around mercilessly by the construction works around the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail node. Walk in the front door and you’re in a long room with small tables and a bar for casual dining. This was empty when we visited, but downstairs – a chic room of muted browns and beiges – was buzzing.
The menu changes monthly but some items are regulars. ‘Country terrine’ is refined and sophisticated, beautifully assembled and subtly seasoned, but has all the heartiness you would expect from the more rustic version. Even better was snails on toast: the juiciest snails ever, buttery shallots and a creamy celeriac purée. One of the star dishes of the year.
Mains were at the same level, especially veal sweetbreads with insanely rich pomme purée. The single flaw was found in poached and roasted pheasant with turnip tops and thyme dumplings. The bird had spent a little too long in the oven, and it was great-tasting but just a bit dry. One of the ceaselessly solicitous waiters spotted our hesitation and begged us to let them replace it. We declined; they knocked it off the bill instead.
We loved a salad assembled from a glorious riot of micro-leaves (tiny in size but huge in flavour) and the wine list, which starts at less than £20. A martini with gin from the East London Liquor Company was generous in size and expertly made; best martini we've had in living memory. (If you're going out for drinks in the area, place Piquet on your list of candidates.) There’s a set lunch menu starting at £16.50 for two courses, and (pour les rosbifs?) a daily joint from the carving trolley. And no praise would do justice to the service, from a smoothly run but genuinely warm brigade.
French food – what’s that? Go to Piquet and see how it’s done. Just off Oxford Street. By a guy who grew up in Kent.
92-94 Newman Street
|Transport:||Tube: Tottenham Court Rd|
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