The Fashion Features & Entertainment Assistant, Josie Ayre ventures to the Canary Wharf site of Tom’s Kitchen…
Canary Wharf, in my mind, is the Hollywood film façade of London. Walk down those eerie, empty streets on a weekend and you’ll understand what I mean, and then venture there in the week and you’ll be surrounded by suited and booted Leo-lookalikes from the Wolf of Wall Street. All in all, it’s a pretty weird place, but it’s also one of the corners of London which restaurants are flocking to in the hope of making a killing from lengthy (and boozy) business lunches. The Breakfast Club, Chai Ki and Tom’s Kitchen have all made their homes there and it was the latter that I head there to visit.
Tom Aikens – the Tom from Tom’s Kitchen – is the youngest British chef to have been awarded two Michelin stars at the age of 26. His restaurants follow his seasonal cooking ethos and change their menus with the turning of the weather so while you can always go back for some of your favourites, be prepared to be tempted by seasonally appropriate dishes, like the Roast Yorkshire Pigeon which we started with.
Gamey, light and oh so delicately cooked, the pigeon was the perfect started alongside the heavier Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait which was served with some light and fluffy brioche, chutney and salty cornichons. The Parfait came in quite a large serving (always a good thing) so if you’re not feeling too hungry, I’d suggest sharing if you’re desperate for a taste.
For mains, he went for the mussels while I ordered the venison casserole with mashed root vegetables in the name of seasonal eating and after the recommendation from the waiter. The mussels came piled high and were some of the biggest we’d seen, so if you’re into watching your money as much as the Canary Wharf lot, then you’ll be pleased with this dish. You’ll also be pleased to know they were pretty tasty.
While I wouldn’t usually order it and it certainly wasn’t the most photogenic of dishes, the venison casserole was bloody good and won the taste test from myself and my dining partner. Gamey, covered in rich gravy and accompanied by a perfectly creamy side of mash, the casserole is the kind of comfort food that you want to eat when it’s blowing a hoolie outside and all you want to do is be warm, full and satisfied.
While we probably – no, definitely – didn’t need it, we ordered the spiced crème brulee to share for dessert. While the top had a satisfying crack, what lay beneath was a bit too watery and we ended up leaving a good chunk of it which was probably for the best.
The Canary Wharf outlet of Tom’s Kitchen is sleek much like it’s surroundings but much more welcoming than the fluorescent lighting of the offices above. The autumnal menu is familiar, warming and done well with no unnecessary pomp and circumstance. Above all, Tom’s Kitchen is a great place for an after-work dinner with good food which won’t break the bank.