Review – Tom’s Kitchen – Chelsea, London
Last week I found myself heading to Tom’s Kitchen in the leafy and trendy suburb of Chelsea. It was a gloriously sunny day and I was eagerly anticipating my foodie adventures for the evening – a taster menu with wine pairings, showcasing the organic fayre supplied by master farmer Lord Newbourne of Rhug Estates.
The evening started with a few glasses of bubbly (naturally) and a chance to meet my fellow diners, an eclectic mix of foodies from all walks of life. We were then lead into the private dining room where our taste extravaganza would begin. I found myself seated next to Bill from the TV series Gogglebox, I told you it was an interesting mix! Lord Newbourne himself was present to talk us through his farming philosophy and how Rhug Estates came to be. He had some very amusing stories to tell including one about a visit from HRH Prince Charles. Farm dogs do not always perform on cue lol.
Our first course was a Confit Chicken Boudin with a pickled mousseron vinaigrette paired with Saint Aubin 1 er Cru Champlot from Burgundy, France. The chicken was succulent and went beautifully with the vinaigrette and I particularly loved the pickled mushrooms. Served at room temperature it was a great start on what was a very warm London evening. The inclusion of fresh asparagus added colour to the plate and a nice bit of texture.
Next up was the cured fillet of Aberdeen angus beef with salt-baked beetroot, beer pickled baby onions and horseradish cream. This was matched with a Salice Salentino Riserva from Puglia, Italy. When eating these meltingly soft pieces of beef it is easy to see the quality and appreciate the effort that goes into organic farming. The baby onions added a nice crunch and the beetroot was soft and sweet, a perfect balance to the horseradish under the beef. This was my favourite course of the night.
Our main course was roast loin and braised breast of salt marsh lamb with crushed peas, lovage and braised & crisp shallots. Teamed up with a Ribera del Duero ‘Seleccionada’ from Resalte, Spain. The wine pairings complemented each dish perfectly and enhanced the already fantastic food. As anyone who knows me knows, I am not the biggest fan of lamb so all credit to Tom who made a dish that even a lamb-o-phobe like me enjoyed and cleared!
The fourth course in our five course menu was one I was particularly looking forward to – cheese. In my opinion no dinner party is complete without a cheese course so it was definitely a big thumbs-up for including it. Baked golden Cenarth (a town in Wales) with a candied bacon crumble and raisin toast. Wine for this was a decadent Chataeu Perron, Lalande de Pomerol from France. The cheese as you would expect was served warm and was so creamy, matching perfectly with the homemade bread, I wanted it all to myself. Luckily I had remembered to bring my manners with me and I acquiesced to sharing with my fellow diners.
By now we were all pretty full so dessert called for something light and cleansing for the palate. We were not disappointed – A rhubarb and elderflower fool topped with a light sabayon. The dessert wine for this was La Fleur D’or, Sauternes, France. Rhubarb is now making a comeback in many restaurants, I’m not sure why it has been so maligned in the past. When rhubarb is in season it makes a regular appearance on my own dinner party menus. This dish was light and not too creamy, the perfect way to end an amazing night of foodie heaven.
Tom’s cooking is exceptional and it’s easy to see how he earned his Michelin star recognition. With a well balanced menu, beautiful presentation and service second-to-none (Tom was even serving me himself at one point!) these nights are a treat. With tales from Lord Newbourne of Rhug Estates antics in between courses, the excellent quality of their meats, the fabulous wine pairings and of course the skill that is Tom Aikens, it was a foregone conclusion that everyone had enjoyed their tasting menu extravaganza. If you see one of these nights coming up I would highly recommend you go and see for yourself. Failing that any visit to Tom’s Kitchen is sure to please your palate. It is well-known for serving one of the best brunch’s in London and judging by the bustling crowd downstairs in the main dining room, is a very popular choice for dinner too!