The purpose of this posting is 2 fold; to reminisce on how good Pieds Nus really was and in hope that restauranteur David Moore who also independently owns Pied à Terre and L’Autre Pied takes notice and reopens it somewhere in town sharpish! A group of fellow gastro gangsters and I were lucky enough to attend way back in late November 2013 (yes I did say reminisce!) and experience the delights of this love child spawned from the aforementioned Michelin starred establishments. Moore employs Ed Dutton who at the time of the 10 month opening worked for Tom Aikens in Tom’s Kitchen. In case you’re wondering the connection came from Ed’s time at Pied à Terre where he was employed as a chef under Shane Osbourne who was the first Australian to gain Michelin star status. Those in the ‘know’ will be aware Marcus Eaves is the current head chef there now. Enough ramblings now and back on onto Pieds Nus, after a drink in Purl we seated on a what appears to a makeshift table propped up by metal high beams on canteen style high stools. The interior looked like it was all cobbled together and made for rustic feel with wooden floors, shabby chairs and an exposed square farmhouse sink. I’m intrigued by the ornaments!
As you can see from the menu, the concept is simple – minimal ingredients per dish, which I believe is one of the attractions of eating here, it’s a far cry to some of the complex dishes that Dutton would have produced in a Michelin starred kitchen. Our waitress advised us that the dishes were served in a ‘small plate’ tapas format and to go for the whole a lot, how could we refuse?!
What we drank: Cocktail of the day – Pieds Nus Cosmopolitan. £7 which had a mighty punch, a bottle of really juicy Austrian Pittnauer ( £51) and a full bodied Zorzal Malbec (£25.50).
Bacon and Onion Brioche, Black Onion Seed Flat Bread, Milk Loaf, Hummus. £4.50. I was really surprised at how good this bread was – the bacon & onion brioche savoury-sweet, flat bread crispy moreish especially when scooping the hummus. The milk loaf was soft and sweet & tasted great with a smathering of butter.
Paleta Iberica D.O – Bellota Reserva Shoulder 2 year cure. £10.95. Deep flavours and practically melts on your tongue. Eat it!
Seared Yellow Fin Tuna, Peppar Black Olive. £12. Seared with a pepper crust and came with a perfect ruby red in the centre.
Slow Cooked Duck Egg, Potato Belper Knolle. £6.50. This dish was loved by the other diners, not quite like anything I have tasted before and textually it was interesting. Belper Knolle (pronounced “Can-o-le”) is a cheese created from Herr Glauser’s dair in Belp just outside Berne in Switzerland. The literal translation is “The Tuber from Belp” which is derived from its truffle-like appearance. The cheese itself and potato were grated to create the saw dust like appearance. We ordered 2.
Scallop Cerviche, Fennel, Cucumber. £12. A testament to the 3 ingredient format really working. Totally delicious sweet scallops too.
42 degrees Confit Salmon, Cauliflower, Pink Grapefruit. £8.50. Such care was taken over this piece of fish – slow cooked in oil at this constant temperature means something pretty special!
Charred and Tartare Cornish Mackerel, Beetroot, Apple. £8.95. I’m a big fan of mackerel and with those slithers of pickled beets and apple cubes provided the perfect cutting element to freshen up the palate from the oily fish. Magic.
Picked, Raw and Charred Vegetables, Celeriac Oil £4.5/with truffle supplement £5. Mixing pickled and fresh charred vegetables provided contrast and topped with truffles made this an exciting dish.
Beef Tartare, Smoked Eel, Wasabi, Crisp Quails Egg. £11.95. Again a combination I’ve never had before, perhaps a bold choice but it was a mighty little dish.
82.2 degrees Spiced Lamb Neck, Aubergine, Cous Cous. £11.95. The maghreb spices (cumin, cinnamon, paprika and saffron) worked really well with the punchy flavour of the lamb, inspired by North Africa no doubt especially with the glossy aubergine sauce.
98 degress Slow Cooked Pork Belly, Potato, Carrot. £10.45. My little devine swine never ceased to amaze – flesh moist and you get a perfect crunch when you bite into that crackling. I loved the contrast of pureed and slithers of pickled carrot too.
62 degrees Poached Rose Veal, Celeriac Choucroute, Truffle. £12.95. Choucroute is France sauerkraut in case you’re wondering and it tasted really good with that perfect pink tender veal, a very delicious piece of meat that stole the show.
New York Cheese Cake, Blackberry Ice Cream, Blackberries. £6. Ed Dutton really shows off his credentials with this desert, a perfectly deconstructed cheese cake that sung the high notes. The blackberry ice cream was so easy to eat with mouthfuls of the toasted vanilla mascarpone, along with the poached berries and buttery biscuit crumb. This glorious desert would not be out of place in Pied à Terre let along a pop-up!
Tarte Tartin, Crème Frâche Vanilla Ice Cream (for 2). £12.95. One bite convinced me that this tarte was not a patch on the New York Cheese Cake which was a shame. I loved the way the spices (cinnamon, vanilla, star anise) were intact but all I could taste was an overwhelming burnt, bitter flavour.
Doughnut with Raspberry Crème. £1.50 each. They were the perfect little end to the meal and accompaniment to my after dinner double espresso.
The damage: Expect to pay £65-£85 per head with drinks.
The good: Pieds Nus serves up really stunning refined cooking at accessible prices and the whole dining experience was a pure eating pleasure. Many will agree that London should have more shabby chic restaurants that deliver Michelin quality food, for me it was a mash-up that embodies really enjoyable fun dining. The bread, veal, scallops and New York deconstructed cheese cake were really stand out dishes. The ‘less is more’ concept is a fascinating niche and a revelation in my book. David Moore if you are reading this please do us a massive favour and bring back Ed Dutton for another Pieds Nus adventure!
The bad: It doesn’t exist anymore!