May 30, 2010

Sunday lunch at L'Autre Pied

On Sunday when cousin had left to go back to Sweden (and just made it out before the ash cloud hit again) I met with up with Aussie friend for Sunday lunch. Aussie friend is a fellow food and wine lover which I have shared several delicious meals and wine with over the years. Last time we talked over the phone we decided that next meal was going to be very good. We were going for Michelin class.

In early 2000's old flatmate's partner worked at Pied à Terre, a two Michelin star restaurant on Goodge Street and when I found L'Autre Pied, its sister restaurant in Marylebone the choice was easy. We were going for French contemporary dining.

Tucked a way right in the middle of Marylebone Aussie friend and I actually managed to pass the restaurant without noticing it first and had to go back one block. Finally there, we were greeted by a French Maître d' who was wearing a very funky hot pink top with fringes (something only a petite French woman could pull off wearing). Our table was right in the the middle of the restaurant and as usual it was fun looking around to see what other people had decided to spend the afternoon in food heaven. Two tables away I quickly spotted a Swedish man with English girlfriend and his Swedish parents visiting. Eavesdropping on the conversation it seemed very much like this was the first time for the in-laws to meet the girlfriend.

Three sorts of still oven warm bread quickly arrived to our table along with water. Something we nibbled on while looking at the menu and wine list. Everything sounded exquisite but the risotto lover in me just had to try Risotto of Summer Truffle, Potato Crisps, Shaved Parmesan, Roasted Chicken and Truffle Jus as a starter. Aussie friend decide on the same. When looking at the wine list the Sommelier arrived and when she realized we knew a little about wine we had a lovely chat and even got to try two different whites to go with the risotto. Our final choice became a Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay from Yarra Valley in Australia. Just perfect.

For main course I decided to go with a very classical fish dish - Poached Lemon Sole, Mushroom Beignets, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Morel Mushroom Cream. Fish cooked by top chefs can never go wrong. Aussie friend went with Slow Cooked Lamb Breast, Garlic Pomme Pureé, Confit Tomatoes, Green Olive and Rosemary Jus. When it was time to pick the wine our Sommelier friend arrived again. After trying both a Riesling and a Bourgogne I went with another Australian wine, David Traeger Verdelho from Goulburn Valley. Another match made in heaven.

An hour into eating and drinking both Aussie friend and I had huge smiles on our faces. This was pure heaven. Perfect food and perfect wine on a rainy Sunday afternoon. When it was time for desert became I decided not to go with something sweet and/or chocolaty which is very rare for me. Instead I choose to have cheese. The cheeseboard had passed our table several times and looked magnificent. I picked chèvre (of course), a British soft cows' cheese with black pepper, a French hard cows' cheese which reminded me of Parmesan and the Queen of all British cheeses the Stilton.

An espresso and still warm ginger biscuits ended our spectacular lunch two hours later. Aussie friend went home to watch Australia lose the cricket World T20 final to England, which I was invited to watch as well, but I still can't get cricket. It has to be something the Anglosphare are born with... Instead I did a last round at Debbenham's and House of Fraiser before going back to my hotel and crashing in the big double bed everybody gets at Hoxton Lodge. I believe I went sleep with a huge smile on my face.

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