27 Cale Street, Chelsea, South West London, SW3 3QP
Housed over three floors of dining space, Tom Aikens' chic white-tiled and marbled brasserie is located in a particularly stylish part of Chelsea, just down the road from the Royal Brompton Hospital. Tom's Kitchen attracts a crowd of loyal locals, many of whom come for his famous breakfast pancakes. We entered a busy, buzzing restaurant, with a private party occupying the upstairs dining area and the downstairs full of merrily munching couples and gathered friends. The chefs operate from an open kitchen area (complete with a fine wood-smoking oven), which added to the cheerful hubbub and welcomed us in with delightful aromas. We were lucky enough to be seated by the window and so bedded in with a passion fruit Margarita for a spot of people-watching. Whilst sampling some unusual truffle chips with Parmesan, we allowed the waiter to choose the wine to accompany both our dishes. Once ordered, the food arrived swiftly, beginning with pan-fried foie gras accompanied by a duck egg and slice of bacon, and a bowl of the soup of the day - a velvety smooth pea and ham. The menu is designed to feature the provenance of the ingredients, demonstrating how carefully the restaurant sources its ingredients from top local producers around the country. It was therefore with a sound conscience that I tucked into a sumptuous lemon sole served with poached egg, lemon, caper and parsley butter and raisins, while my partner sampled the delights of a roast rump of lamb with cous cous flavoured with rosemary, dried fruits and almonds. We just had to sample something from the dessert menu and managed, without too much trouble, to polish off Tom's chocolate hot-pot topped with a scoop of divinely melting pistachio ice cream, and an Eton Mess - ending our splendid evening on a high and sugary note.
Open: Mon-Fri 8am-11am, noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm; Sat & Sun 10am-4pm, 6pm-11pm