Tom Aikens’ Michelin-starred restaurant finds its home on the corner of a quiet mews in Belgravia. Its frontage, much like its owner, is deceivingly understated and doesn’t quite reflect the magic that lies behind its whitewashed walls. This is Muse in a nutshell, quietly achieving culinary excellence without making a song and dance about it.
The restaurant is small, tiny even, and seats a maximum of 25 diners across two floors. Our seat at the counter upstairs is the best way to experience Tom’s intricate cooking, boasting an unrivalled look-in to the methodical workings of the kitchen team.
It's a rare skill to be able to maintain an exceptional level of detail across 10 courses, but Muse achieves over and above what’s expected from a plate of food. For starters, each course is inspired by a personal memory of Tom’s, a particularly great example being one entitled ‘Conquering the Beech Tree’, reflective of Tom’s childhood sense of fearlessness, which sees langoustine wrapped in wafer-thin pork fat and served with a small, sweet black splodge of apple puree. This single bite is served on a twig, alongside a small bowl containing a rich bisque made with langoustine claw to minimise waste. That’s just one course.
Elsewhere, a miso-licked piece of monkfish with pumpkin gnocchi, crispy seaweed and a mussel sauce delights with sweet and salty contrasts. The finale is a feat of beauty and grace: a picture-perfect mille-feuille in which apple, brown butter, cider brandy and a butterscotch sauce combine the nostalgic flavours of apple crumble and sticky toffee pudding in one layered masterpiece.
You could write a short novel about the intricacies of each course, the main takeaway being that, for all its complicated backstory, every idea absolutely lands. We left Muse with a foreboding sense that we will never experience a meal quite like that again.