Monday, 20 January 2014

Pieds nus

Pied Nus @_piedsnus
19 Blandford Street, W1

Pop ups in London have extended beyond that of street food merchants dipping their toes in bricks and mortar, now extending to fine dining joints. Pieds Nus have opened a short term residency in Marleybone only 3 doors down from it's owner's L'Autre Pied. It's a story of  'don't judge a book by it's cover' as the food is far more appealing than that of the restaurant front. Also, the concept of 'little or no cooking' is undermined by precise sous vide temperatures appearing on several of the dishes on the menu. To roll your eyes would be to your detriment though, as from the vegetarian starter to the dessert it is quality "michelin star standard" food, beautifully presented, at outstanding value. With just over a month left, (and 4 courses for £20) get yourself down before it closes...if not just for the cheesecake.

The bread basket was very similar to what I've had with Tom Aikens particularly the bacon & onion brioche alongside the milk loaf and black olive flatbread. Head chef, Ed Dutton (previously of Tom Aikens), assured us it wasn't a blatant steal from his former employer instead something taken previously from his time at Pied a terre, no doubt some contention on that! The rest of menu is a small plates concept with dishes meant to be shared meaning an attempt at most of the menu can be sought even between 2.
For starters we went for the salt baked jerusalem artichoke with wild mushrooms and sea purslane, a dish full of earthy flavours. Really enjoyed this, I would seek out more vegetarian options if they were anything like this. The scallop ceviche was a fabulous light plate of scallop with cucumber, another great start although couldn't pick up much from the fennel powder. While these were both very light, the slow cooked duck egg, potato and belpher knolle that you were encouraged to break and mix in was rich and rather stodgy 

Salt Baked Jerusalem Artichoke, wild mushrooms, sea purslane (£7.50)
Scallop ceviche, fennel, cucumber (£12.50)
The mackerel dish played on the different cooking of the mackerel, the fillets with charred crispy skin, and tartare the other side.The plate was beautifully presented and the beetroot and apple matched well with the mackerel.

Charred & tartare of cornish mackerel, beetroot, apple
Beginning of the precise sous vide dishes. 82.2C degree lamb neck followed by 98C 12 hour pig belly. As expected the lamb neck was beautifully tender and also well spiced with middle eastern influence of the aubergine, dried tomato and cous cous. While this was full of flavour it left the pork belly with carrot and mash all the more bland, essentially a tapas version of a roast and disappointingly the skin was more chewy than it was crispy.

Spiced lamb neck, aubergine, cous cous (£11.95)
Pork belly, potato carrot (£11.45)

Not normally blown away by desserts, the New York cheesecake was something worth returning for... and maybe ordering twice. Deconstructed into it's various elements it was simple and worked perfectly with the sharpness of the blackberries, texture of the biscuit crumbs and the brulée, very powerful. I'm glad divisions were made before we shared this otherwise battlelines, in blackberry coulis, could have been drawn.

New York Cheese cake, black berry ice cream, blackberries (£6)
What a shame the banana financier with maple syrup and banana ice cream had to come after this. Banana for me lacks the boldness of flavour to really standout. A nice dessert all the same.

Banana financier, maple syrup, banana ice cream (£6.50)
There isn't many places that have so many raw dishes, and with additions of beef tartare, eel and pickled vegetables amoung those we didn't try, it seems something they've managed to experiment well with under the popup guise. It is a refreshing menu full of flavour well married with technique. Lunchtime service and FOH were very friendly, and well versed in all the menu, able to give good recommendations on food and wine pairings. I hope they manage to find somewhere near to reopen once it has to leave it's Marylebone site

Pied Nus on Urbanspoon

NB. We were guests of Pied Nus

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