So, come on, feel the Noizé:
TOM PARKER BOWLES enjoys a lunch of scallops and partridge at this discreet London restaurant. By Tom Parker Bowles For The Mail On Sunday
Noizé 39 Whitfield Street London, W1T 2SF
Two weeks into January and I’ve yet to talk about culinary trends, and my prescient predictions for the thrilling year ahead. I’ve let you down. Hell, I’ve let myself down. I’m sorry, really I am. Because I know how much you all care about the trite and transient, the flash-in-the-pans and the one-day-wonders, the dull, ditzy and dumb. Because to suggest a vegan diet, say, or probiotics, prebiotics or sushi-filled bloody doughnut (douchi – I kid you not), will be in fashion means, by its very fickle nature, that it will fall from grace mere moments after. A brief suckle on Mammon’s trendy teat, before an eternity of despair, humiliation and self-hate, consigned to the deepest, darkest depths of the shop-soiled discount dungeon. So rather than bore you with some half-witted hot air about nut milk and radical plant proteins (be still my rumbling gut), how about a few simple restaurant requests? Rooms, comfortable, well-lit rooms with decent acoustics, rooms in which one wants to linger – with kitchens that cook food, good food, that you actually want to eat. Served by warm, charming, professional staff who are decently paid and properly looked after. Meaning the tip, or service charge, is theirs, and theirs alone.
Oh, and if they could please write down my order, however brilliant their memory may be, I’d be eternally grateful. Prices don’t have to be dirt cheap, but they must reflect value. And please, when it comes to wine lists, don’t take the Michael. Which brings me neatly on to Noizé, a small, discreet restaurant north of Oxford Street that opened last year with the minimum of fuss. In fact, the first time I heard of its existence was when Fay Maschler, the empress of eating out, whispered of its wonders while we were filming something for the telly. And trust me, that’s a tip from the top. Mathieu Germond is the man behind it, a much-lauded veteran of Pied à Terre, where he was both sommelier and general manager. The head chef, Ed Dutton, is another who did time at Pied à Terre, and he’s there for all to see, behind an immaculate wall of glass, in a quiet, calm, industrious kitchen.
I’m lunching with my friend Laura, the queen of caviar and much else besides, and she likes the place immediately. So do I, as this is a room made for eating. Thick, pristine linen tablecloths, solid cutlery and elegant glasses. There’s room to stretch, and gossip, without fear of being overheard. Next door, a bottle is opened and poured. They’re not fans. Without so much as wrinkle of his brow, Germond whisks it away and brings them something else. Where he leads, his staff follow. Service here is magnifique. As is the food. Gougères, light and airy as my New Year’s resolutions, are filled with warmly oozing cheddar. They’re better than the ones at The Waterside. And, dare I say it, better even than Simon Hopkinson’s wonders. Pig beignets are rather more strident, deep- fried and beautifully bosky. While chicken liver pâté, piped artfully on to fingers of toast, and sat under a scattering of tart grapes, has a truly regal richness. My scallop ceviche is a very different beast from the Peruvian original, though both are obsessed with the freshness of their fish. But while the South American version is fierce with chilli and salt, at Noizé it’s softer and more fragrant. Thanks, in part, to the use of kaffir lime, less strident than its conventional cousin. Ribbons of fennel are tangled on top, along with cool balls of cucumber. It’s properly seasoned too. Laura’s fois gras is as filthily lascivious as it should be, beautifully cooked and quivering atop a chewy tarte tatin. A woman wise in the ways of engorged liver, she nods her approval. Lots of sweat and elbow grease for a few mouthfuls that are both big-flavoured and elegantly refined, Tom Parker-Bowles writes +3 Lots of sweat and elbow grease for a few mouthfuls that are both big-flavoured and elegantly refined, Tom Parker-Bowles writes Partridge arrives as two burnished breasts, the skin both crisp and chewy, sat atop a pile of celeriac and translucent slices of apple, with the most intense and reduced veal jus poured on top. Served with peerless pommes dauphinoise, this is old-fashioned haute French cooking at its best, the sort that reminds one why they once ruled the culinary roost. Lots of sweat and elbow grease for a few mouthfuls that are both big-flavoured and elegantly refined.
Laura eats seabass, still translucent in the middle, with crisp skin and salsify, and a bold but surprisingly delicate red wine sauce. More culinary classicism, lovingly wrought. Apple tarte fine, for pudding. Like everything else at Noizé, there’s poise and precision and understated art, a respect for tradition, without being boorishly bound to it. We drink a bottle of wonderful Riesling. And finish with a glass of Poire William, chilled, of course.
With the minimum of fuss, and maximum of charm, Noizé gets it just right.
So my predictions for 2018?
More Noizé. Please.
About £40 per head