Nervously, glancing this way and that, I hasten to Canary Wharf’s Jubilee line station.
On the way, I glance up at Plateau , once the lair of chef Allan Pickett.
An estate escapee, he’s divorced from the restaurant’s parent group D And D and I’m on his trail.
Scented faintly on the Wharf, my pursuit leads first to Waterloo, then Tottenham Court Road via the Northern line.
My imaginary pack of hounds course through the Underground’s connective veins with me in pursuit atop a black stallion.
The beasts dissolve as I turn off Oxford Street up a road that, once the local Crossrail station is finished, will probably be bustling with faces charmed by inner-city regeneration.
It’ll also bring recently opened Piquet that bit closer to its head chef’s old haunt.
The restaurant is unremarkable from the outside. Dark. Not especially welcoming.
Inside, a vacant bar space. Perhaps people don’t realise it’s open yet.
One of my spectral hounds reappears and, in the finest tradition of Lassie, leads me and my companion downstairs.
Beneath, we find a completely different world. Staff stand round the perimeter of a generously proportioned restaurant. It’s early, there’s not much to do. Tables are set.
A gaping maw of bright light, white ceramic and stainless steel is, thankfully, easy to ignore against the soft brown sugar of the restaurant’s interior.
Its staff flow like molasses round us; tempered to a temperature where service is hardly noticeable and swift.
Forget all that though. True, Piquet’s sufficiently pretty for a gush or two. Its underground speakeasy chic is strong enough to make diners think something slightly illegal might transpire.
Is Pickett a fence? His waiting staff pushing moody meats at knock-down prices?
No. And it's the food that's more important in any case.
In December I can confidently pronounce he’s responsible for two of the best courses I’ve eaten in London this year.
One of those is easily up there with food I’ve been fortunate enough to sample from the likes of Michelin darlings Marc Veyrat, Jean Michel Loudain and Michel Geurard.
That dish is his forest floor-rich venison loin. Earthy, bestial, intense, superb.
And it’s only £20.
If you enjoy the sensual pleasure of cooked flesh, red and succulent atop braised cabbage I doubt it could be beaten in the capital.
Light touch and powerful, it’s a dish that rides that paradox into the woods, butchers it and rubs in leaf mould.
What a way to follow the impressive onslaught of Pickett’s crab raviolo – an indecent swelling of shellfish draped in a ceremonial wreath of samphire.
Excessive and ripe for bursting at a very reasonable £9.50.
In fact, the only unreasonable thing about the whole affair is that it’s not that short jaunt from One Canada Square (half an hour on public transport if the wind is with you).
When is Piquet’s sister opening in Canary Wharf Allan?
Piquet, 92 Newman St, London, W1T 3EZ, 020 3826 4500.