Tuesday, 21 June 2016


I've been a fan of chef Tom Aikens ever since I'd seen him on the Great British Menu so I was excited to find out that I would be staying close to one his restaurants, "Tom's Kitchen" during our recent stay in London. Would it live up to my high expectations? We headed off to St Katherine's dock to find out.

Tucked away just underneath Tower Bridge, we had been to St Katherine's dock before and it was quite busy however it was a quiet evening when we visited Tom's Kitchen which was great for a laid back late Friday evening dinner. Whilst the interior of the restaurant looked warm and inviting, it was a mild evening so we decided to take a seat on one of the outdoor tables which the incredibly friendly hostess was only too happy to arrange for us. This meant we could enjoy our meal whilst taking in the view of the boats currently residing in the dock. A gorgeous way to spend a Friday evening. 

Friday's at Tom's Kitchen are "Macfridays" so it seemed appropriate to choose the Mac and cheese for my starter. The pasta is more rigatoni than macaroni but that doesn't matter when it's cooked to perfection. Not sure what cheese was being used but it was delicious with just a little bit of sharpness that complimented the Dijon mustard that I think was mixed through the sauce for an extra punch of flavor. Simple but incredibly effective, the only thing that was missing was a round of bread to mop up the remaining sauce with. As a starter or a main, this is an excellent choice whether you're vegetarian or not!

Onto the mains and as Jon wasn't in the mood for anything too heavy he went for the burrata and butternut squash salad. He's not really a fan of squash but he commented on how tasty the little chunks of orangey goodness were and the spiced seeds and hazelnut dressing it came served with not only added a nice earthy element to the dish but also a bit of crunch to give the salad another layer of texture. The star of the show was the burrata though. It was so soft and creamy and melted in the mouth, I'd never tasted anything like it before. I could of eaten a whole bowl of it on it's own and pretended I was back in Sardinia. Stunning!

For my main I went for the chicken schnitzel. I do love my chicken and this schnitzel did not disappoint.  The chicken was beautifully moist and the breadcrumb coating was golden brown and had a satisfying crunch to it. What really made the dish sing though were the added extra's. The schnitzel sat on top of confit cherry tomatoes, onion relish and pepper coulis. These elements added a sweet burst of fresh flavors that I surprising found myself enjoying more than the schnitzel. Its great to see the secondary elements on the plate getting as much love and attention as the main event. A must for any chicken lovers looking for a dinnertime treat.

Onto desserts now. When you see items on a menu with very little description you always worry about what it is you are actually going to get. We needn't of worried at Tom's Kitchen though. This "Millionaires Shortbread" was something else! Refreshing lime curd and shards alongside crispy coffee meringues bordered a ring of fresh cream which housed a chocolate dome of heaven. Perfect for anybody with a sweet tooth, under the dome lived a soft and buttery shortbread biscuit and oodles of rich salted caramel. This was a millionaires shortbread on acid and for a dessert lover like me I couldn't of been anymore blown away. Absolutely incredible!

Our final dish was described as "Yorkshire Rhubarb". I couldn't of imagined what was going to hit the table but what did arrive was again a wonder to behold. I'm going to say the rhubarb was poached but just enough so they held their shape and remained nice and tender in contrast to the soft and fluffy marshmallows. The refreshing sorbet in the centre of the plate was also bursting with rhubarby goodness but the real highlight was that custard cream biscuit which was like a little work of art. Rhubarb is not everyone's cup of tea but when it's served like this I can't see how  anyone couldn't fall in love with this underrated classic.

After finishing every last mouthful it was time to sip up our fabulous house white wine and head off for a walk around the dock to burn off all that fantastic grub. Were those high expectations met? Most definitely yes, and then some. Tom Aikens has put his name to a restaurant that takes classic dishes and really turns them something special. The understated way in which the dishes are presented on the menu is really no indication of the magic you are served. Add to that the fabulous surroundings and the bubbly staff who were always present with a smile and you have yourself the perfect way to spend a warm summers evening right in the centre of London. One word to sum up Tom's Kitchen? Terrific!

To find out more about Tom's Kitchen St Katherine's dock, it's other locations or book a table head on over to their website here.

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