There is a kind of excitement that brings expectations whenever I go to a Michelin starred restaurant – and expectations, whether in food or anything else in life, are never helpful. This much I knew. The only question was whether L’Autre Pied would be good on the dance floor.
Cuisine: Modern French
Head chef: Andy McFadden
Camera: Nikon D40, 18-55mm Nikkor Lens & 50mm Nikkor Lens
The whole “dance floor” metaphor was because L’Autre Pied means “the other foot” – I know, I’m so darn hilarious. Ha ha ha.
Getting back to serious business, we ended up here through a Groupon discount (50% for the 7 course taster menu), to which I couldn’t really say no: 7 courses for a mere 31£ is a steal, and my brain, tuned on the “bulking up” frequency, just said “Food”. Much have I bemoaned the unsophisticated interiors of fine dining places as they often could offer more than what they do; even more so at L’Autre Pied. The restaurant is nice, yet for some reason the tables and the chairs gave an overall impression of oldness and the wear of time could be visibly felt.
There were some hiccups with the service (such as the butter being rather lonely on the table until the bread decided to appear two courses after), but overall you felt in good hands. I have mixed feeling in regards to the food: some of the dishes were lovely, some had questionable mixes of ingredients. The amuse bouche was delicious and playful. The entree, however, consisted of more than 50% of what seemed to be pickled ingredients, making the dish overwhelming in taste – it was much too sour. I love my pickles, but I don’t eat them plain.
L’Autre Pied seems to have the tiniest obsession with globs of paste made of various ingredients (this really reminded me of that season of Hell’s Kitchen where that guy had an obsession with froth), and some of the dishes felt more sophisticated than they should have been. For example,the mackerel had three different such little globs (I really don’t know what else to call them) made – I was told – of carrots, yet each of their own taste and they didn’t seem to complement each other much. The same globs existed (As can be seen in the pictures) in the entree and the desserts. One of them from the dessert tasted incredibly bitter – like something burnt – and I had tried my best to find a combination in which it would work yet ultimately left it on the plate.
There was also an issue of some part of the dish being overwhelming in other instances – the deer was delicious (in fact, all the food was cooked near technical perfection – the texture of the broccoli was amazing), yet underneath it was what seemed to be the mangled insides of the deer. Some sort of meat (Which I couldn’t really tell which part) that had such a strong taste I was tempted to leave behind. Alas, my brain just said “Protein” and I ate it.
The pre-dessert was delicious (coconut mousse, strawberries hidden inside) and playful again, whereas the dessert lacked much imagination and felt more like a couple of nice stuff thrown on a plate. Chef McFadden and the entire kitchen clearly know what they are doing when preparing the food – as mentioned, the technical level is clearly very high – but something goes awry either due to over-complexity of some of the dishes or unusual ingredients in others that just didn’t play well.