Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dinnertime in London: Tom's Kitchen

Tucked on a quiet street in Chelsea is Tom’s Kitchen, the casual but chic restaurant from celebrity English chef Tom Aikens. Aikens is one of the youngest star chefs in the London food scene to earn a Michelin Star nod for his namesake restaurant Tom Aikens, also in Chelsea. Tom’s Kitchen is a much more casual and cozy joint and at a more recession appropriate price point. The place is lit with a warm glow of yellow lighting, with wooden tables and a large open kitchen, all to evoke a friendly and low key feel.

The menu is small with a rustic and locavore-esque theme and a nod to traditional British cooking as evidenced in the braised lamb or slow cooked pork belly. My friend MC and I had 2 different starters, 1 heavy (seared scallops over a bed of parmesan risotto) and 1 lighter (fennel and arugula/rocket salad with oranges and walnuts).



The salad was delightful, very fresh produce was used. The scallops were seared perfectly but the risotto was a bit greasy and salty. The portions were generous, in line with the comfort food/homey theme.

We selected a bottle of 2005 La Montessa Rioja for our entree: Beef Wellington for 2 with a side of mashed potato and roasted carrots. The beef wellington was perfectly cooked, with a crust that was buttery and flaky.


The mashed potato was the silkiest, smoothest I’ve ever had and the roasted carrots were enhanced with a little bit of balsamic syrup. This was a Sunday roast at its best!

The desserts were surprisingly good. A prune and armagnac bread pudding sounded suspect but was unbelievably buttery and delicious (I am now a convert to bread pudding). The raspberry tart with vanilla ice cream had just the right level of sweetness.


Too often when a chef opens a “more casual” eatery after the success of a fancy Michelin Star restaurant, the companion eatery suffers from either lack of an identity or schizophrenia. In this case, Tom’s Kitchen was the right balance between comfort food and refined cuisine and the atmosphere was just right as well. Oh, and it helps that the chef is really cute!

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