What's the draw
Yes, it might have opened in 1991 (having held at least one Michelin star since 1993), and yes, it might have had a slew of head chefs through its doors in that time, but under the guidance of owner and London restaurant legend David Moore, Pied à Terre has never strayed from relevance – least of all in 2018, with a renewed emphasis on tackling food waste and ultra-sustainable sourcing and a wealth of options for the meat-averse, too.
What to drink
Like a handful of seemingly old-school London restaurants of this calibre, there's a very modern approach to the wine list here, and a team of sommeliers and waiting staff keen to get you to try something a little unexpected. Case in point: a white 'X de Toutigeac' from Bordeaux winemaker Vignobles Toutigeac – seemingly a classic white bordeaux, but with a little smack of oxidisation that lends it something approaching the funk of a natural wine. Elsewhere, a punchy 2014 red from Turkish winemaker Diren, made with the native öküzgözü grape, was all warm-climate juiciness.
What to eat
There's a variety of menus on offer here, from pre-theatre to à la carte and a couple of tasting menus, too, including both a vegetarian and vegan one. We went for the standard tasting menu – a three-or-so-hour procession of dishes that go big on both technique and flavour. Greek head chef Asimakis Chaniotis uses umami to lend depth to classic dishes, from zingy feta in the white mousse appetiser (served in a hollowed-out egg shell), to liver and a rich jus with squab pigeon breast – which comes with blackberries, caramelised shallot and a bonbon of confit pigeon, too – and toasted tomato and pepper consommé alongside a risotto dish. There's also an intriguing play of styles in certain dishes – none more so than a pleasingly sturdy piece of red mullet, intricately wrapped in lightly fried strands of potato and bathed in an almost Thai-spiced coconut sauce, infused with a little saffron. All of which goes to say that this might be a distinguished restaurant with a French name, but inside it are many reminders not to judge a book by its cover.
Tasting menu: £105; wine pairing: £62. 34 Charlotte Street, W1T 2NH; pied-a-terre.co.uk