A joint venture from Alan Pickett and André Blais, Piquet is one of the best conceived London restaurant openings we've seen in recent months. Inspired by the combination of their two cultures, the restaurant fuses English and French taste and style, and boasts a relaxed and friendly atmosphere – in Blais' words, "exquisitely refined and refreshingly unpretentious".
On entering the restaurant, you might be fooled with regard to the above: wait staff are on hand in their droves to take your coat or offer you a glass of wine, and the chic modernity of the spotless, dark wood panelled upper room might delude you into thinking you'll feel uncomfortably scrutinised. Yet venture downstairs, and you'll find yourself in a canteen-style brasserie, with bright lights, an open kitchen and a buzzy atmosphere.
While the French and English theme are clearly reflected in both food concept and interior design, the ingredients are happily sourced solely from the UK, specifically Kent, Pickett's home county. Lunch and dinner menus change seasonally to match the appropriate ingredients, but a few selected Piquet originals, like braised Black Angus short rib, are permanent fixtures throughout the year.
For starters, you mustn't miss the pressed suckling pig served with prunes, black pudding and cauliflower purée: it melts in the mouth and we'd hazard a guess that it's the best thing on the menu. That said, we also highly recommend the marinated Scottish sea scallops, dressed in pickled apple, cucumber and squid ink. For mains a meaty offering of steamed monkfish draped in seared ox tongue is a unique concept with a flavour to match, served up with savoy cabbage and port butter sauce: rich but utterly delicious. But the real surprise is in Piquet's vegetarian offering (and thankfully so, as it's the only veggie main on the menu): pumpkin and toasted barley stew, beautifully aldente served with ceps and sage, is a complete triumph.
Pickett runs his day to day operation at the 98-cover Piquet, a task he's more than ready for, after acting as head chef at the likes of Plateau, Aviator, Galvin Bistro de Luxe, and Orrery. The food at Piquet speaks for itself (as does the expertly paired wine list. Reservations aren't necessary in the downstairs brasserie, so if you're in the Fitzrovia area we'd recommend heading down to Piquet and trying it for yourself – you won't be disappointed.
|What||Piquet restaurant review, Newman Street|
|Where||Piquet, 92-94 Newman Street, London, W1T 3EZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Oxford Circus (underground)|
31 Aug 15 – 31 Aug 16, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to go to the Piquet website|