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Pied a Terre, London: restaurant review and meet the chef

At smart, Michelin-starred restaurant, Pied a Terre, chef Marcus Eaves creates playful twists on classics such as quail kiev

‘I’m classically trained but love creating modern dishes with incredibly bold flavours and highly visual presentation. My enthusiasm and creativity have never waned, nor has my passion for seasonality and the use of outstanding, Great British produce.’  So says the Warwickshire-born chef Marcus Eaves who’s at the helm of this Charlotte Street stalwart.

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His serious approach is echoed in the atmosphere at the smart Michelin-starred restaurant. On our weeknight visit fellow diners include a group of food industry executives spending a generous amount on wine and a lone diner who discusses each dish with his waiter – it’s the kind of place that attracts people who really care what’s on the plate and like to talk about it.  Many dishes create discussion points as they feature unfamiliar ingredients which the waiting staff are happy to explain.  Beef is served with Tokyo turnips (a mild variety) and guinea fowl with yellow foot mushrooms (smaller than chanterelles).

A starter of marinated hand dived scallops are served raw with red prawns, yuzu, fennel and watermelon radish while, quail kiev, is a beautiful dish of roast breast and leg of the tiny bird. A main of poached and roasted lemon sole with fennel puree, black olives and pinenuts is lifted with sweet Meyer lemon. The pudding menu shows trendy touches too; caramel parfait comes with toasted oats and caramel popcorn, and tea-poached Agen prunes are served with salted almond ice cream and caramelised white chocolate. 

We’re guided through the wine list and the sommelier invites us to taste and guess what we’re drinking before he tells us. Bracing Cataluynan white xarel-lo is a good match for the quail kiev.

The restaurant, which has been around for over twenty years, has recently been refurbished and now the space is lighter and more luxurious with calfskin leather seating and bang up to date copper wall paneling.

Misfire: the atmsophere is serene rather than buzzy so if you have a chatty table next to you can hear their every word

Bullseye: Impeccable service, that runs like clockwork thanks to owner David Moore.

Website:  marcuseaves.co.uk and pied-a-terre.co.uk

Twitter: @marcuseaves    @piedaterreuk

meet the chef: marcus eaves

The best thing on my menu is the quail kiev, my first ‘classic’.  This is a perfect example of technique with a playful twist!

In my fridge there’s always duck fat (for roasties), a jar of Bon Maman raspberry jam (perfect as for me in the mornings I have a sweet tooth), tinned anchovies (great addition to a sauce or just served on some sour dough), salted butter, banana shallots.       

My most-used cookbook is Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I first got hooked on Yotam’s food at his place in Notting Hill.  The food was super fresh and vibrant with lots of different ingredients.  Many of the ingredients have either been forgotten or simply unheard of such as sumac, molasses, pomegranate or miso.  This book is a firm favourite and the ideal place to find a quick recipe for a light and interesting lunch.                                                                                                                                                 

My favourite 15-minute supper is mackerel with gremolata. It’s so simple to make at home you will need: 

2 mackerel fillets (deboned)

70g basil

30g picked parsley

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 anchovy fillets

1 clove of garlic 

olive oil.

salt.

Grind all the ingredients together using a pestle and mortar to form a traditional gremolata. Add some olive oil, just enough to bind the ingredients together. Finally grill the mackerel fillets until they are cooked, placing the gremolata on top.

A food/restaurant trend I see sticking around or being the next big thing is Mexican – you ain’t seen nothing yet!

I know I shouldn’t admit it but my guilty pleasure is a fish finger sandwich with plenty of mayo, or sweet chili sauce.

A fellow chef I admire is Bjorn Frantzen, one of Sweden’s most acclaimed chefs: His food is natural and refined; many of the ingredients served are from the restaurant’s own gardens just outside of Stockholm. The Scandinavian food scene has become really popular over the last few years and having eaten Bjorn’s food, it’s easy to see why! 

I don’t understand the phrase ‘never trust a skinny chef’ – it’s not true, trust me.  The kitchen’s an incredible place, a busy place, some people call it ‘The Engine Room.’ It’s a place where chefs are slogging away, lifting, chopping and bouncing around burning off all that energy.  Ask me if I’d ever trust a skinny chef?  I say- absolutely. 

I love eating at The Bull and Last in north London, a pub serving hearty seasonal food. I often spend my lazy Sundays enjoying a traditional Sunday roast, and other favourites are the crispy buttermilk chicken and the English hare ragu. 

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A place I love that not many people know about is Mama Lan in Brixton Village, the whole village (market) is absolutely buzzing with stalls and small food outlets.  They serve some beautifully rustic dim sum. It’s fantastic value with most dishes between £5 – £9, the beef noodle soup and the spicy chicken ban mein are amazing.