Review: L’Autre Pied (Michelin-starred)
I have yet to form a distinct opinion on Michelin stars. Sometimes they just seem to be a reason to hike up prices and serve small portions, and after a disappointing experience at Lima last year, I was a little skeptical about L’Autre Pied. But it was my cousin’s graduation dinner (the one who gave us the blood orange risotto), so along I went. After all, he did take me to the fantastic Arbutus last year, another Michelin star holder, so I was confident in his judgment.
When we arrived at L’Autre Pied, there was nobody else in the restaurant, as it was only 6.15pm. As the evening continued though, all the tables filled up and we were surrounded by a soft murmur. Nonetheless, the atmosphere remained quiet and the simple décor created an air of non-pretentiousness, which I warmed to immediately.
There were two things that particularly struck me about L’Autre Pied. The first was definitely the service. We were wined and dined like royalty, and I felt truly taken care of. There were a few amuse bouches between our courses, and the waiter made sure to ask us for our dietary restrictions and adjusted them accordingly, bringing a vegetarian mousse next to the chicken liver – a small yet thoughtful touch.
The second was the textures. I visited the el Bulli exhibition at Somerset house last year and was fascinated by the idea of molecular gastronomy. Blood orange foam, pea mousse, almond smoke… it all seemed magical. What L’Autre Pied managed to do expertly was to present the same ingredient in different ways on the same plate – an incredible concept. I chose suckling pig and received a cut that was pink in the middle, a crispy belly, and a spherical shape of meat (I don’t know where it came from, but it was so succulent that time slowed down while I was eating it). I also had two miniature dollops of nearly liquid mashed potatoes surrounding the thinnest slices of crispy potatoes I had ever seen. My cousin’s hogget was done similarly, which gave us the opportunity to taste 3 different cuts of meat in the same meal – something I had never experienced before.
The desserts were outstanding as well, with lime foam, coconut mousse and strange lemon textures. The sommelier recommended wines to us based on the food we ordered, and according to my companions, the suggestions were spot on.
L’Autre Pied comes with a Michelin price tag, but it is still cheaper than many other Michelin-starred restaurants in London. And I for one would happily forgo 2 or 3 average meals for the flavour and texture explosion I experienced that evening. Save it for a special occasion, but go all out. You won’t regret it.