Matthew Pearson

Pied à Terre & Vegan Fine Dining

A little write up about Pied à Terre - one of London's finest fancy restaurants - and their vegan tasting menu. Featuring...

  • What you can expect from the vegan tasting menu at the Michelin Star restaurant
  • A little history of Pied à Terre and their changing relationship to meat and dairy
  • A look back at veganism in the Dark Ages (about five years ago) and how far London's restaurant scene, and some of its most famous names, have come

Pied à Terre

Pied à Terre serves modern French food with eccentric international twists. And their approach has given them enduring appeal: they’ve been one of the most cherished and lauded fine dining restaurants in the capital for the last quarter century. They’ve had a Michelin Star all those years too. And they don’t sit around, polishing their trophies either. Pied à Terre is a restaurant constantly on the move, with a charming refurbishment completed in 2018, experimental additions to their seasonal tasting and a la carte menus and, now, a fully vegan tasting menu. Pied à Terre has had great vegetarian a la carte options for the last 20 years or so. They even had a vegetarian tasting menu. But it wasn’t until the last couple of years that the Michelin Star restaurant started offering their fully vegan tasting menu. It’s been a hit with vegans, veggies and meat-eaters, and it’s fast become an integral part of Pied à Terre’s appeal. [caption id="attachment_4772" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

The Pied à Terre Vegan Tasting Menu

The vegan tasting menu has changed since it was first introduced, with more courses added and seasonal substitutions. Recent highlights have included a sparky carrot velouté with ginger, pickled celery and toasted oats; Jerusalem artichoke three ways, served with shimeji mushrooms and pain d’epice; refreshing pep-up pre-dessert of compressed watermelon with Szechuan pepper and toasted coconut; and a big finish dessert of poached strawberries, cinnamon cake, 100% chocolate mousse and a basil and a strawberry sorbet. Owner David Moore doesn’t see veganism as a fad. Unlike other places across the capital he isn’t just waking up to it either, with Pied à Terre long-since renowned for its accommodating reception of veggies and vegans. Moore said, “I firmly believe that plant-based eating is not a trend, it’s a real thing and we are only seeing the very thin edge of what will be a game-changing wedge.” And by getting young Executive Chef Asimakis Chaniotis in to keep things sharp and evolving, he’s made his longterm commitment to a broad, open, inviting fine dining scene clear. [caption id="attachment_4771" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

Vegan Fine Dining

As more and more restaurants open up to veganism on their menus, it’s pretty astounding to think about how quickly it has all come about. Just a few years ago, prevailing sensibilities in London’s restaurant scene were overwhelmingly carnivorous. Veganism was seen as a pretty embarrassing affliction that kept you from enjoying yourself and spoilt the fun for everyone else. Meat was good. Cheese was better. And vegans ate nuts and seeds and salad leaves, unbuttered bread and tasteless bean burgers because they wanted to, not because it was all that was available to them. It wasn’t that long ago that celebrity mega chef Gordon Ramsay was tricking vegetarians into eating meat. On his Kitchen Nightmares program, he gave a pizza sample to a bloke who said he had been veggie for eight years. After the volunteer had finished, Ramsay revealed that the pizza had parma ham hidden under the mozzarella. He laughed and joked that the veggie man hadn’t, “come out in a big rash.” Witty, witty stuff. As the veggie man walked away, Ramsay shouted, “Good luck with the Vegemite!” Geez. In 2003, he bragged about serving chicken stock-enriched soup to vegetarians...after lying to them. He said in an interview with the Daily Mirror that he’d sit his kids down on a fence and electrocute them if they became vegetarian. ZING! In 2016, he was asked on Twitter if he had any allergies. His reply: vegans. Prrrp.

A Big Green Change of Heart

Whether it’s for the marketing, the money or the morals, he’s undergone a rapid change in the last year or so. In January 2019, he introduced a vegan menu at Bread Street Kitchen restaurant. There’s even a vegan roast available on Sundays. Ramsey admitted that, with veganism going absolutely nowhere, he’d have to eat some ‘humble pie’. He didn’t say what was in the pie, though. Maybe he hid some parma ham in it. It’s far from just Ramsey. While his swing has been perhaps the most public, he is hardly a trailblazer in admitting that he was wrong about veganism, or in attempting to appeal to a newly significant set of diners. Almost every London restaurant is either onboard or getting there when it comes to offering options. For morals or for money? Who knows. And if it means more vegan options on menus, fine dining or otherwise, who cares? If you're looking for tips on how to enjoy an eco-friendly trip to London, take a peek at our handy guide.

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