A little bit unsure of which way it’s turning, Pivot still delivers a good meal in an area that’s not always to be trusted
‘Pivot’ is one of those corporate buzzwords that annoy me. Businesses never admit they’re hastily changing direction, instead they say they are ‘pivoting’. This apparently makes it sound so much better.
I’m not sure why the upper floor restaurant at 3 Henrietta Street is called Pivot though, perhaps they were thinking of ‘the central point, pin, or shaft on which a mechanism turns or oscillates’. That would make some sense.
In fact the restaurant has indeed pivoted. I can see from old reviews that it was once a fine dining restaurant of the tasting menu kind, the sort of place people who don’t like using a knife and fork now tell us is passe.
The menu we get as we sit down is very unstructured, a bit unfocussed. Quite short, with perhaps ‘British’ in mind, and clearly a pivot away from the old.
It’s a lovely space this room for sure, once the drawing room of a grand Georgian townhouse it has great views out onto the Covent Garden Piazza. Burnt orange walls set off a collection of posters for gigs from indy bands back in the day. I’m delighted to see there’s even one for The Smiths at the Academy, Brixton. Reader I was there. Yes, I am as old as Morrissey and possibly getting just as crotchety.
Back to the menu, well there’s one thing that I immediately fancy and that’s ‘Beef & Bone Marrow Pie’. It is ‘off’ though, which is a disappointment. Hey ho, so I pivot to something else.
However, Split Roasted Bone Marrow thyme and garlic is a ‘nibble, and comes with Stottie cake, so we order that as compensation, as well as some Pork Crackling Crisps with a black vinegar mayo.
The crisps are delightful, big, puffy and crunchy, and while the black vinegar mayo is a rather unappetising steel grey in colour, it is excellent with the crisps. The bone marrow is gleeful, two big Flintstone bones that we scrape away at happily, piling the unctuous marrow onto the warm and fluffy stottie cake. Shades of St John with this dish, and there’s nothing ever wrong with that.
Starters, are rather small in size, Scottish Smoked Salmon with capers,shallots and dill J reports to be very high quality, while my own Dressed Winter Squash, vegan feta, pine nuts, honey mustard dressing and watercress is rather too cold, the squash making my teeth hurt. That apart it’s a delicate and subtle dish and rather wholesome, I am not convinced by the vegan feta though, bring me some proper feta and never mind the vegans.
Denied the joys of a proper meat pie, I pivot the other way entirely and go vegan myself with Wild Mushrooms On Toast, salt baked celeriac and truffle. A bit of a brunchy dish this, it actually turns out to hit the spot bang on with its generous layer of mixed mushrooms.
I spot some cepes, I eye up various enoki as well as other fungi that I am not so familiar with. The mixture of textures is very good, while the bread is soft enough not to require the usual hand to hand combat. A creamy and aromatically truffly sauce enrobes it all very satisfyingly, with the celeriac subtly adding its unique taste.
Across the table J is splashing about in a Seafood Broth. I can see a large hunk of salmon in there, some white fish with crispy skin and is that a mussel? Could well be. It’s all bathed in a luminous saffron sauce flecked with chives and looks creamy. J likes it a lot, ‘packed with flavour’, he reports.` Some simply boiled new potatoes are all he needs on the side.
We pile into desserts, a wine-poached vanilla-perfumed pear for me. As ruby red as a beetroot and it’s almost as firm, perhaps a bit too firm, but that’s always a problem with pears, both sweet and avocado isn’t it? They’re never ripe. Some whipped cream eases it all down.
J’s Sticky Toffee Pudding & Custard is as good as any he has ever had he says, but as he points out, you can’t reinvent the sticky toffee wheel.
So Pivot is a place that’s currently a bit unsure of which way it wants to face in the future, but the mixed menu is stylish, has something for everyone and it’s all done very well.
A good place for a relaxed brunch, lunch and perfect for pre or post theatre dining (£28 per person), the location means you’re paying a bit more for a la carte than average , and the wine list is rather pricey too, but you won’t leave disappointed.
3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden | +44 7377 220955 | [email protected]