‘So I’d like to know when, you got the noooo-tion’. You probably know the rest, involving rocking boats and the Hues Corporation in brilliant lemon jumpsuits:
It’s playing as I enter Picnic in Kennedy Town, the first song in an eclectic playlist taking in Elton John, The Carpenters and more. The paint is barely dry (it opened in December, when I visited) but the menu already shows the sure hand of Philippe Orrico, the Réunion-raised chef I’ve interviewed in the past.
In addition to its usual à la carte menu, Picnic offers three types of basket that you can eat in, take home, or to the promenade if you’re feeling like some bracing sea air – or slightly stinky harbour guffs, truth be known. The lunch picnic box ($298) is a touch bound to make Instagrammers ecstatic, while the contents should keep gourmands pretty happy too.
A pea gazpacho is well-balanced, olives are, well, olives, but the dinky salad of feta, quinoa and edamame is good and those home made crisps are genuinely a thing of beauty. There are creamy salmon rillettes under pearls of caviar and smooth and decadent pork rillettes which show every ounce of Orrico’s classical French training.
This being a tasting lunch, options from the à la carte are shared, notably a quarter Loire Valley roast chicken, done rotisserie style in the way the French do better than anyone ($168), but only after being shown inside of a sous-vide first. They also really know how to mash potatoes, namely by drowning them in cream and butter, no bad thing.
Another basket makes an appearance for dessert, this time containing Sablé Bretonne chocolate biscuits, while other pots of good stuff include a knockout chocolate mousse, a mango cream and a brilliant little raspberry number. I’ve got the nooootion to come back for this little selection alone.