All reader reviews by Anonymous
I visited Tom Aikens for lunch last Friday. As I was first to arrive I decided to opt for a beer to wet my whiste while I waited, rather than the proffered aperitif or champagne. I asked the maitre'd what was on offer in way of lager. He regarded me keenly before naming a single obscure organic lager and adding "we're not really about beer here". Never a truer word.
Tom Aikens is a gastronomic temple. It is compact, slick and stylish with the food taking its cue from the decor and service in this regard. Amuse-bouche for us was a test tube of sauternes jelly topped with layers of celeriac dice, celeriac puree and a sort of truffle flavoured mousse. I don't think I could honestly say I enjoyed every mouthful of this (it could have done with losing one of the celeriac layers) but it was at least interesting. I am also very much of the opinion that an amuse-bouche, compliments of the chef, is the place for a little experimentation.
My starter of duck breast, confit duck and root vegetables rather surprisingly arrived cold (admittedly by design). It was very pleasant but I couldn't help thinking that I would have enjoyed it more had it been warm. It was also a rather substantial portion, throwing my companion's miniscule langoustine starter into sharp relief. He did wolf it down in record time though so I assume it tasted good.
My main of sea bass with blood oranges, blood orange sauce and broccoli puree was a highlight. The delightfully piquant flavour of the sauce mingling interestingly with the crispy skinned fish and unctuous puree. Again though I won in the portion stakes with the lamb on the other side of the table arriving in the shape of three fifty-pence-piece sized medallions.
Dessert was something to do with rhubarb (a sort of mousse thing) and was light and tart and thoroughly moreish. As we both had the same thing we could agree that it was a triumph without bemoning the cack-handed quantities. Petit-fours deserve special mention - a selection of spoons with assorted cream/fruit based goodies jostled for attention amongst madeleines, chocolates and sugary wafers.
Overall Tom Aikens was very much what I expected from a restaurant of its reputation. High quality ingredients cooked with a bit of flair and invention, professional and courteous service (as ever in Michelin joints the staff are predominantly French) and a diningroom with a sense of occasion about it. From my meal the main point to watch is portion control but apart from that and the slighlty offbeat amuse bouche I would certainly recommend Tom Aikens for a high quality meal in the modern French style.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7