Noizé opened in October 2017, the restaurant service run by owner Mathieu Germond, who was formerly general manager of Pied a Terre. Since my last visit there has been a change in the kitchen, and the new head chef is Dan Mertl, whose career has included stints as senior sous chef at Chez Bruce, head chef of Glasshouse, and most recently executive chef of the now shuttered Lutyens. The dining room is small and intimate, with no unnecessary fripperies like canned music. Diners fed up of tasting no-choice tasting menus full of dishes with bonkers ingredient combinations will find joyous relief in the menu here: an a la carte selection with plenty of things you might actually want to eat, plus several specials of the day.
The wine list seems to have expanded quite a lot since the opening, and continues to be a thoughtfully put together list at acceptable prices, a rare combination indeed in London; corkage at £25 is also modest. There are a good number of wines with a decent amount of age, and the mark-up levels get much more modest as you climb the list, which you would hope would be the case but in London is far from certain. The list now features labels such as Lake Chalice Pinot Gris 2017 at £39 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £11, Monterey La Crema Pinot Noir at £53 compared to its retail price of £22, and the superb J.J. Prum Riesling Spatlese Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2007 at £96 for a wine that will set you back £57 in the high street. Those with the means could indulge in wines such as Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon 2002 at a bargain £258 compared to its retail price of £358, and at E. Guigal La Londonne 1976 at £478 for a bottle whose current market value is £427. This is one of London’s more interesting wine lists.
The bread was from Flourish in Watford and was very pleasant. Gougeres had Comte mixed in with the choux bun pastry but were served with a little creamy Cheddar sauce separately. The gougeres looked initially as if they were a touch overcooked but tasted fine, the cheese flavour coming through well. Even better was pig head croquette topped with tartare sauce. This was a lovely creation, the sharpness of the tartare sauce a good foil for the richness of the crisp croquette (average of 15/20 nibbles).
Cornish mackerel had been pickled and was also served as a rillette, accompanied by sauce and cucumber and a sliver prawn toast. This was an excellent and refreshing dish, the sourness of the vinegar used in the pickling being a natural balance to the inherent oiliness of the mackerel (16/20). Quail pithivier came with a puree of celeriac and a rich red wine jus. The bird was carefully cooked and had plenty of flavour, enhanced by the jus and balanced nicely by the earthiness of the celeriac (16/20).
Turbot was from a good-sized 5 kg fish, served with mushroom tortellini and girolles. The fish had good flavour but for me was cooked just a little too long. The little pasta parcels were very good, garnished with a few mushroom slices (14/20). Pappardelle pasta came with girolles, crushed broccoli and kohlrabi. This was an enjoyable summery dish the pasta having good texture and the vegetables carefully cooked (15/20).
Chocolate sundae was a pleasing mix of chocolate ice cream and coffee granite, the coffee flavour present but not being dominant (16/20). Raspberry tart had salted caramel foam with a touch of lemon in the cream, along with good vanilla ice cream (16/20). Coffee was a brand called Elixir and came with a couple of chocolate truffles. Service was charming. The bill came to £127 a head; if you skipped pre-dinner drinks and just shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person might be around £75. Noizé is an excellent restaurant, with an appealing menu, lovely service, excellent cooking and acceptable pricing.