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27 Cale Street
020 7349 0202
Visit Tom's Kitchen Chelsea
With branches in Canary Wharf, Somerset House,
and St Katherine's Docks, Michelin-starred Tom Aikens’ boisterous, stripped-back brasserie side-line now has the makings of a mini-chain. Fans of robust British-inspired grub still congregate at the Cale Street original for
bullish classics and seasonal dishes ranging from macaroni cheese, seven-hour confit lamb and shepherd’s pie to beetroot salad with pear and goats’ curd, roast wild duck with celeriac mash and port
sauce or pumpkin cheesecake with spiced ice cream. Photos of ‘food hero' suppliers line the tiled walls, and the interior is a masculine (but not overbearing) mix of diminutive, tight-packed tables
and long benches. Despite its clean lines and smart attributes, the place can be let down by braying noise and big bills – although premier-league Chelsea prices don't deter the crowds, who also
pile in for full-English fry-ups (£13.50) and restorative weekend brunch.
Photography credit: David Griffen
Rate & Review
Or read our dinner reviews
From: 02 October 2017
To: 31 October 2017
From: 20 June 2016
To: 31 December 2017
From: 22 April 2016
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Food & Drink:
Food & Drink: 3.0
My wife and I have always enjoyed our visits to Tom's Kitchen...especially for Brunch, an American concept that still hasn't seem to have quite caught on in London. We booked for this past Sunday for a Mother's Day Brunch but came away less than satisfied. Where there was once an attempt to make proper pancakes (akin to crepes), our recent visit saw a raised-flour, cake-like offering that didn't much resemble nor taste like a pancake at all! This was fine except that Eggs Royale came delivered on an untoasted piece of bread which resembled a crumpet rather than the a properly toasted English Muffin! What's happened? Why the changes away from the old standards? Sadly, the food just didn't live up to the wonderful atmosphere and the dependable service! Perhaps we'll try a proper lunch to see if these standards remain up to Tom's standards!!
Food & Drink: 2.0
Visited at the weekend for the first time in over a year. Use to love the place, but has gone downhill. Food was cold, coffee tasted awful – and the overall vibe was off kilter- was packed so maybe they don’t have to try anymore. Won't return.
The lower level of Tom's Kitchen was busy and bustling with young families (the Chelsea kind, that is) on long benches and wooden tables – all very nice and cosy. Typically I had forgotten to book so we were seated upstairs, equally nice but quieter, which is a good thing, especially when children are involved. The decor was masculine but not overbearing; clean lines and simple, yet smart attributes.
Our waiter seemed confused at times. Pleasant enough fellow, just not ready for work that day I expect – sleepy, which could be misconstrued as boredom. He was also certain that we needed two extra sides, which we did not. Silly us for thinking the waiter may have had an idea of portion sizes.
The brunch looked gorgeous, but at 1.03pm, we were too late to experience it. Fair is fair…
I rarely order chicken in a restaurant, but I can’t resist an escalope. There’s something about breadcrumbs that tips me over the edge ever so slightly. This one was huge, juicy and the coating was coarse and crispy with excellent seasoning – also a hint of pesto, which wins big. It’s sheer size covered the balsamic sundried tomatoes and roasted red peppers underneath and definitely did not require any sides, particularly braised red cabbage (as tangy as the balsamic) as recommended by Sleepy Waiter. OR the mixed lead salad, which was basically a cereal bowl sized mix of leaves – familiarly the same mix I buy in a bag from Tesco from around £1.. ‘The country has been scoured for the best ingredients, grown by the most dedicated producers’ reads the website. Hmm, ok. This miniature bowl was a whopping £4.25 – morally questionable. My dining partners’ bangers and mash was hearty but still maintained a fancy flair to make it not just S&M, and a grilled chicken and avocado salad was ‘nice’. Hardly the adjective equivalent of a compliment.
The food was nice, I’ll give it that (you must of noticed how many times the word nice has been used in the paragraphs leading up to this point), but for three mains, two juices and a cappuccino? ‘Nice’ doesn’t quite cut it for £90.
In short – terrible service, mediocre food, ridiculously overpriced.
Booked a table for 5 and shown to a table for 4 and told that we can just “squeeze in” the extra person. When we said no, we were seated at another table. Not long after, we were told that we'll have to move as the table where were sitting was booked.
After we sat down, everybody disappeared and it took over 20 minutes for our waitress to return from wherever she went. Drinks took FOREVER to arrive; some people at the table received their food while others had to wait; and when we didn't get everything we ordered.
Best of all, no apology was forthcoming even after we highlighted the poor service.
The food was ok – but there are many grills that offer the same menu at half the price.
Atmosphere is good.
In short – don't go there!
Food & Drink: 4.0
Food was great, but the staff and service were atrocious. After ordering each item the server came back to ask if we wanted to modify it in some strange way. If I wanted something different I would have said so when I ordered it.
I ordered ONE iced coffee and they gave me two. When I said I ordered only one they questioned me. I ordered a banana milkshake and got vanilla. Although the vanilla shake was very good, not what I ordered.
I had to wait 15 minutes to get the attention of the server for the bill and another ten to use my card.
To cap it off, tight quarters made it difficult to get in and out of tables and required customers to work together, but apparently my pregnant wife was not moving fast enough and the server stuck behind her, as she was waiting for someone in front of her to move her chair in to get out, put her serving chair in my wife's back. Apparently to “help” her move more quickly, as I'm sure the server was in a hurry to offer abysmal service to some other customers.
Too bad because the food is great. Maybe repeat business is not part of the business model.
I chose to take my mother who was visiting from Australia to Tom's Kitchen as I had had a previously good experience just weeks before. Unfortunately on this occasion where it mattered as it was a treat for my mums birthday it totally let me down. After talking it up to my mum, when our main meals eventually came my mother's plaice was raw in the middle, she sent it back and although the lovely aussie waitress apologised and said it would be 4-5 minutes it in fact took 15minutes before it came back. Meanwhile my other guest and I had finished our mains. Apart from an apology from our waitress for the raw plaice being served when it came to paying for the bill it was not taken off, as I would expect from any restaurant with such high regard. Not even a complimentary coffee or tea was offered which I do think was appalling.
Food & Drink: 1.0
What as disappointment. Loved Tom Aiken's restaurant so thought we would treat our daughter to a birthday brunch before a bit of shopping on King's Road. Could go on for ever on the £80 I spent on a meal that I would rate far below the most humble of London caffs. A few points:
- Fried eggs on full english were at least 10 minutes out of the frying pan with that lovely rubbery look of the ones you but in joke shops
- Full english at £14.50 was otherwise no better than any caff.. nothing imagainitive or different. It came with no toast neither were we offered any. When we asked we had to pay extra and even then waitress only begrudgingly brought some butter!
- Tea at £3 was a tiny pot with 1 teabag in. Could not even bother for that price to use leaves and give a top up.
- Menu completely ordinary – no pastries , nothing healthy and definitely nothing imagainitive. I do not call Eggs Florentine or Bendict (executed rather ordinarily) anything special (and at 12.50 for 2 poached eggs and a bit of spinach.. wince). We were told that on Sunday they do not do any contintential breakfasts so nothing special on the menu.
- Staff were actually quite rude. I got the “had to be out by 12 noon” treatment when booking but resturarant was only about 1/2 full. (must have all been first timers like us.. cant see anyone going back there). Asked to sit at a different table (not below the skylight which was rather hot and uncomfortable) but was given short shrift that everything had been requested despite staying empty the whole time we were there.
- Credit card machine broken but waiter persisted in getting my card rejected 3 times – a bit embarassing before admitting to the fact that they had had problems and going off to get another machine with no apology.
What a shame when good chefs sully their names with such poor offshoots. Like the fish and chip shop I cannot see this surviving and depsite being big fans ofthe main restaurant and regular visitors we will definitely not go back there either. The feeling of being completely fleeced and having a special day spoilt does not go away.
Really dissappointing experience… an tepid welcome coupled with a 15 minute wait for drinks order ( which was only then forthcoming because we prompted ) didn't exactly endear us to the sunday brunch experience so very well PR'd. A litany of underdelivery: the coffee was served without offer of sugar, we were never once asked if we needed more drinks, the pudding menu took 10 minutes to arrive even tho it was within arms reach of us ( we didn't go on to order…funniily enough!) and the bill took 3 reminders.
Each request was greeted with ambivalence bordering on disdain.
The staff were too interested in socialising to actually do the job they were being paid for.
The food would have had to have been pretty spectacular to make up for this shabby service – and it wasn't. Nice, but not so nice as to rationalise enduring the preening and pretention that surrounded us.
I've never been SO bothered as to write a negative restaurant review before – a testament to just how underwhelming we found this ‘style over substance’ gaff.
First, and I guess most importantly, the food. I had the pork belly, which was frankly excellent and the chips that my other diners had were very good too. Sadly that is going to be pretty much the last positive comment I will make on this review. My two friends had the steaks, which were pretty good but very small given the cost (just shy of £30). Also on the cost side, the sides (buttered cabbage and buttered spinach) were very expensive given what was actually served up (although I will concede that this tends to be the case with many London restaurants).
All of the above niggles wouldn't have mattered had the service been adequate. From the minute we sat down (we booked at 7:30) we felt as though we were being rushed by the waiting staff. This culminated in us having the bill slapped down on our table by the faintly rude head waiter before we had asked for it.
We understood the reason why we were being hurried when, on the strike of 9 o'clock, we were told that we would have to leave by our waitress, as they needed the table for their next diners. She was at least a little sheepish and mumbled that we had been told about this when we had booked (which, as the person who made the booking, I can vouch was 100% not the case). It was also then a surprise when, whilst walking out, we noticed that there were actually 4 empty tables that were ready to recieve diners.
All in all, if asked to rate the service in one word I would struggle to find a more appropriate description than “insulting”.
DISASTER. Turned up on time for our 8pm booking and were told we had to wait 5 minutes. 25 minutes later we finally sat down at our table, having been shoved up to the bar in the interim (a ploy for us to spend more money?). Took 10 minutes to ask us what we would like to drink, and a further 15 minutes to take our food order. We felt the food was taking a long time, so enquired after it – were given the response “your food is on the way” … TODAY? The mackrel salad for £16.50 was of pathetic proportion and we had to send back half of the moules as they were too closed/bad. That said, the actual food was delicious – but we already had a bitter taste in our mouth by this point. We refused to pay the service at the end of the meal. Would not recommend Tom's Kitchen to anyone.
Tom’s Kitchen Chelsea offers two areas that are available for private hire. Accommodating between 10 and 40 guests for seated meals, and up to 60 guests for standing receptions, the spaces offer great venues for a range of events, from birthdays to anniversaries, press launches to wedding receptions, corporate events to canapés parties – even children’s parties (Monday to Friday only).
The brasserie is also available for private hire.
From: 02 October 2017
To: 31 October 2017
From: 20 June 2016
To: 31 December 2017
From: 22 April 2016
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