Have you ever had one of those experiences where you feel like you’re missing something? You don’t get the joke, make an unintentional faux pas or realise that you’re just not with it? That was my experience of Pichet.
The brain-child of Hell’s Kitchen’s very own Maitre D’, Nick Munier (left) and L’Ecrivain’s former head chef, Stephen Gibson, this has all of the credentials of a top-class restaurant but at a fraction of the cost. The pair wanted to get away from fussing about Michelin stars and get down to some ‘real’ bistro food.
The result is mixed to say the least. Pichet has a restaurant area ‘in the back’ which I never got to see as the place was full, and a cafe-like area at the front which was cool and chilled out when we arrived. French music was playing and there was a lovely buzz about the place.
The menu arrived and my partner and I licked our lips in anticipation. We perused the menu and chatted excitedly about the options available; a rare thing these days. I was spoilt for choice and did an eeny-meeny-miney-mow to choose.
I ordered a dinner-size portion of Roast Cod, Basil Orzo and Salt Cod Mayonnaise with a side order of green beans and the little lady a dinner-sized portion of Smoked Haddock, Potato Gnocchi, Spinach, Light Curry Emulsion and a side of fries. We ordered a white wine and chatted over some delicious bread warm from the oven.
While we were waiting, a group of six VIPs arrived. I’ve no idea who they were but the waiters went into convulsions, falling over themselves to take care of them. Munier himself even came out to serve them. I’m sure, considering the pedigree of the owners this will happen a lot, and Pichet will be one of the places to be seen.
Just don’t go if you’re hungry. Our meals arrived and, in my ignorance, I thought “it must be quite rich as the serving is small enough”. Wrong. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong. The cod was flaky perfection, melting in the mouth and the salt cod mayo was the perfect accompaniment. This is real, honest food, cooked with obvious skill. But it was tiny, I mean starter-size tiny.
The poor missus though, got a beautifully plated meal of four teeny pieces of potato gnocchi, asparagus, which wasn’t on the menu and no spinach with was. You can chalk that up to seasonal availability of vegetables, which is fine. But it was actually funny how small her portion was; like doll food. To top it all off neither of our sides arrived and we couldn’t get the attention of the staff as they were too busy with the VIPs, whose money is obviously a different standard than ours.
I’ve read other reviews of Pichet and every, single one of them rave about the place. Maybe we were just unlucky on the night but, to be honest, I won’t be giving them a second chance.
The service of the only waitress who paid us any attention (even though we weren’t in her section) was excellent but she was the exception.
The bill came to €54.50, not including the sides, which we obviously didn’t pay for. Should I add the money for the chipper on the way home?