I love going to restaurants. I eat out an awful lot. Over the years I have become friends with many restaurateurs. Oddly, I have hesitated to write about them. I wondered if I could be objective. However, I met them initially because I loved their restaurants. I ate (and still eat) at these places… often. I admired, we chatted. I returned and returned and eventually we became friends. They deserve to have their praises sung. Not because I like them, but because these men and women are talented, skilled and amazing.
One of my oldest and deepest friendships is with David Moore. He owns Pied a Terre in London. I have eaten here more than at any other restaurant in the world. We averaged once a month for the 6 years we lived in the UK. I make sure to pop in each time I return.
I’m a fan of the perfect service and warm welcome that everyone gets. I love sharing a glass with David and catching up on the London gossip. Something I assume only I get. David is a character, hysterically funny, knows everyone and has strong opinions. All of which helped make him a star on the BBC’s ‘The Restaurant”.
But ultimately it is the food that draws me back over and over. Yes, it is that good.
After working at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire and Le Louis XV in Monaco, David opened Pied a Terre in 1991. It received its first Michelin star 13 months later. David is a great cook, I’ve eaten at his home several times. But professionally his role is front of house. His real genius is spotting and nurturing young chefs. Past chefs include Marcus Eaves, Shane Osborn and Tom Aikens. Current head of the kitchen is Andy McFadden. He had been well trained as part of the Pied family for many years and completely worthy of his post.
His cooking is inspiring! His fish is the stuff of dreams. Yet for the ultimate indulgence I recommend the suckling pig. It is so rich, so decedent and so delicious. The description on the menu does not do this dish justice. It is based on three cuts, a roasted cutlet on the bone, slow cooked yet crispy belly and a pig’s head sausage with an herb crust. A creamy walnut puree enhances the already incredibly flavorful pork. Carrots, done multiple ways (pureed, roasted, picked and as oil) are an ideal foil for the richness of the rest of this dish. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
After 26 years you might expect David to rest on his laurels and for Pied a Terre to become stuffy. It has not. New experiences are continually being introduced. A keen collector of contemporary art, for many years David sponsored an artist in residence program with the walls of Pied a Terre serving as exhibition space.
Recently he started my ultimate fantasy: The Kitchen Experience. On the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month a maximum of 5 people spend 4 hours in the kitchen learning everything that goes on behind the scene. After a morning of hard work, a four-course lunch in the dining room is your reward!
I’m signing up for Sept 22. Wanna join me?