A couple of weeks ago my friend Felicity and I headed to Newman Street to visit Piquet, the first solo project from chef Allan Picket (former head chef at Plateau, Aviator, Galvin Bistro de Luxe, and Orrery) and backed by André Blais (founder of Bodean’s BBQ). Felicity had been there a couple of weeks before and her instagram photos immediately made me want to go. Luckily, she was desperate to have an excuse to go back again.
Walking into the beautiful ground floor bar, I loved it immediately. With dark wood panelling, soft lighting, pewter tables and a stool-lined bar counter, I immediately bookmarked it in my mind as the ideal place to go for drinks after work.
We sat at the bar enjoying a glass of champagne while we caught up on the gossip, then were shown downstairs to the restaurant which has a very different feel. The bar upstairs feels sexy and intimate, whereas the downstairs felt a bit more…bright!
My first thought was “Shit, this is a bit bright!” then I thought “I might get a good photo of the food for a change!” We were seated at a table by the open plan kitchen which I loved as I have always wanted to work in a restaurant kitchen and I love being able to see the hustle and bustle first hand.
I started my meal with the heritage beetroot salad, black figs, goats cheese mousse, cob nuts (£6.50)
Just the look of this dish alone was enough to excite me, it was so pretty and colourful. Taste-wise, it was banf on the money…beautifully earthy, light and fresh, with the goats cheese adding a creamy smoothness and the cob nuts adding a lovely crunch. The perfect starter.
For my main I ordered the pumpkin & toasted barley stew with ceps & sage (£15) which was essentially like eating Autumn, it was a delight. It was warm, hearty and comforting, with lots of bite from the ceps and pumpkin and the perfect hint of sage. Sometimes I feel sage can overpower a dish but this was a perfectly balanced dish.
Felicity had a special dish of open ravioli with pumpkin purée, roasted shallots and ceps. The pasta was as light as air and the mound of pumpkin purée nestled in between the pasta layers was again, just so gloriously Autumnal.
For pudding we ordered the pear and red wine tatin for two (£14) which I think is probably my favourite pudding of this year.
We were ‘presented’ with the whole tatin and then our waiter sliced it in two and served it to us with a large scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Absolutely glorious. If everything else tasted of Autumn, this tasted of Christmas. The pastry was rich, buttery and flaky, the pears were perfectly ripe and had a good hit of red wine. It was sweet and sticky and just so damn delicious. The ice cream cut through the richness and the cinnamon in the background just rounded the mouthful off beautifully. If I could get the recipe for this, I’d make this for my family Christmas dinner.
I loved my meal at Piquet. It was so ‘seasonal’, so Autumnal. It felt warm and comforting and I’ve been talking about that pear and red wine tatin every day since. I might have to go back and have it again, although next time I think I could possibly eat the whole thing myself.
If I could suggest any changes to it, I’d say they need to dim the lights downstairs in the restaurant. Its way too bright and I’m not sure what the reason is for this. It just creates a much more formal and stiff atmosphere when the food doesn’t match that vibe at all. The staff were absolutely lovely though, always there when you needed them but not butting in when you didn’t. I really can’t fault anything else.
I really hope Piquet does well. There were a few tables occupied when I was there but the restaurant itself is so big, it can look rather empty, even when half full. Again, the bright lighting does nothing to help that. They have a fantastic product on their hands and it deserves to do well.