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Restaurant review: Tom's Kitchen, Chelsea, London

Tom's Kitchen, Chelsea
27 Cale Street, Chelsea, London
Cuisine: British
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Helen Hokin: These dishes hail from recipes we like to think we can make at home. But it’s an illusion, this is ‘home cooking’ you’d never, ever, pull off if left to your own devices.
Tucked away in a converted town house on Cale Street, just a few roads in from King’s Road and Sloane Square, Tom’s Kitchen looks every bit the Chelsea favourite it was when it opened some ten years ago.  On a recent Friday evening visit, the dining room was already packed by 7pm.
Since opening to great acclaim, and the well-heeled denizens of SW3 in 2006, the brasserie, serving seasonal comfort food has spawned three London outposts in Canary Wharf, St Katharine Docks and Somerset House. And one in Istanbul.
The specials, chalked up on a board on the wall, include cote de boeuf for two, pan-fried sea trout with bouillabaisse and warm chocolate profiteroles. They give a sense of the sort of regularly changing seasonal dishes on offer.
But I wanted Tom’s legendary mac and cheese which comes ‘truffled’. The earthy truffle gave depth and dimension to what might otherwise be a fairly monotonous eating experience. The cheese sauce was smooth, the pasta still a little chewy, the crust evenly browned. My friend ate merrily through an exquisite plate of perfectly cooked hand-dived dived scallops rendered punchy with caper puree and raisin vinaigrette. The plate was dotted with a few charred cauliflower florets. There’s no other way to eat cauliflower.
Our server didn’t flinch when we asked for a white wine to drink with my guest’s venison casserole. He just went right ahead and selected a full-bodied Riesling; a Langmeil, Eden Valley, South Australia 2014, to be precise. And it worked a treat. Perhaps even more so with my mussels, all plump in a silky cider broth – I think there was saffron and tarragon in there, too - and plentiful serving of French fries.
These are the sort of dishes that hail from recipes we like to think we can make at home. But it’s an illusion, this is ‘home cooking’ you’d never, ever, pull off if left to your own devices. The sourcing of ingredients, from cherry-picked suppliers, has no doubt something to do with it.  And that applies nowhere more than pudding.
Because this was a crumble pudding to behold; packed with thick slices of apple, blackberries - their dark juices running warm and sweet, and a perfectly rubbly topping that collapsed into the fruit as we plunged our spoons into our bowls, was only improved by a wodge of cold clotted cream. All devoured in silence with little breaks for sips of Champagne Collet, Brut Rose NV.
Ten out of ten, for ten years, Tom.
Tom’s Kitchen, Chelsea
27 Cale Street, Chelsea,
London SW3 3QP | 0207 349 0202

Helen was invited to dine as a guest of Tom’s Kitchen
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21 February 2016
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