Since October 2017 the residents of Fitzrovia have been fortunate to have at their disposal the restaurant Noize, named after a little village in France. The owner and general manager is Mathieu Germond, who was formerly general manager of Pied a Terre. There was an a la carte menu presented on a blackboard, and a thoughtful and fairly priced wine list. Corkage is available at a very reasonable £20 (please take note – Helene Darroze). Head chef Daniel Mertl was previously in charge of the kitchens at Lutyens, and prior to that was a senior sous chef at Chez Bruce and head chef of Glasshouse for over three years.
The lengthy wine list had 388 labels and ranged in price from £24 to £660, with a median price of £137 and an average markup to retail price of just 2.2 times, which is an absolute steal by central London standards. Sample references were Palamino Chenin Blanc Papegaai 2020 at £28 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £15, Brooks Pinot Blanc Williamette Valley 2018 at £51 compared to its retail price of £19, and the excellent Littorai Hirsch Pinot Noir 2013 at £138 for a wine that will set you back £82 in the high street. For those with the means, there was Meursault Coche Dury 2006 at £660 compared to its retail price of £644, and E. Guigal La Londonne 1996 at £478 for a wine whose current market value is £340. There were actually a few wines below their retail price, such as the Pays de l'Heurault Domaine Grange des Peres 2000 at just £222 compared to its current market price of £749. There were 57 wines under £50, and 37% of the bottles was under £100, so there was choice for all budget ranges. This is a lovely wine list with fine growers and fair pricing, a true rarity in London.
Warm gougeres were made using aged Comte. The choux pastry was good and there was plenty of cheese flavour; a good gougere is always a lovely way to start a meal (15/20). We tried a couple of the other snacks also. One was pigs head croquettes, which had plenty of flavour. The other was even better: a miniature glazed chicken wing, with lovely texture was glazed with deeply flavoured barbecue sauce (easily 15/20).
Rabbit lasagna with mustard sauce came with crushed new season peas. This was another lovely dish, the rabbit completely avoiding the dryness that can often afflict this dish, the peas having plenty of flavour and the Pommery mustard bringing a gentle hint of spice (15/20). Also very good was cured halibut with fennel salad, the pickling juices working nicely with anise flavour of the fennel. My main course was crusted stone bass with fennel on a bed of barley, with lemon and caper jus. The sharpness of the lemon brought freshness to the dish, and the fennel was a good foil for the carefully cooked fish (15/20).
Dessert was a raspberry tartlet with delicate pastry and ripe fruit, whose acidity was nicely in balance (15/20). Coffee was Il Grandiosi from Elixir Coffee in Ilford; it was OK but a touch bitter to my taste these days. Service was excellent. The bill came to £140 a head, but this included cheese and some excellent wine. If you ordered more carefully, then a typical cost per person might be around £80. Noize is a charming place for a comfortable meal, with appealing food and a genuine welcome.