New Restaurant Review: Tom's Kitchen at Somerset House

By tikichris Last edited 91 months ago
New Restaurant Review: Tom's Kitchen at Somerset House

Photography by Chris Osburn

We certainly couldn't have picked a more pleasant time to accept our invitation to have a go at the new Tom's Kitchen at Somerset House. Salubrious sunshine streamed through the arched window near our table warming us in a much appreciated glow during our Friday lunch visit. Angled mirrors, installed above, captured and reflected the natural light to great effect in the high ceilinged Georgian room without taking anything away from our view of the River Terrace below and Thames just beyond.

Adding to the lovely light, natural materials such as reclaimed French oak and red leather and a diverse range of light fittings made from pewter, reclaimed metal pendant and glass funnels had Londonist already impressed with the resto before even taking our first bite. We also reckoned Tom's was a definite improvement on the former home of the Admiralty Restaurant. Service was friendly and confident. The wine list was a delight (we very much enjoyed our glass or two of Sancerre rosé). And the Somerset House location could not be beat.

With starters around £10 and mains at £15-ish and up, Tom's ain't necessarily for the budget conscious but still represents good value in upscale dining and it's a pretty safe place to consider when you need to do it up without completely blowing the bank. Our meal most certainly did not disappoint. However, some dishes were more commendable than others.

Chicken liver and foie gras parfait with shallot chutney and brioche was gorgeous and amble while a starter of gazpacho with black olive tapenade fell well short of impressing us. Tom's signature seven hour confit lamb was as tasty and tender as ever as was the grilled sirloin steak. Not so 'wow' was our side of truffle chips with Parmesan. The chips were plenty enough good on their own with the truffle oil and quickly clumping Parmesan doing little more than providing the dish with a gratuitously fancy schmancy title. Blackberry Eton Mess with Chantilly cream was an end of summer dream.

A dining space that sets a high standard for understated elegance and a more than decent menu with a few particularly yummy items make this well appointed eatery with the big name chef behind it (see our interview with Tom Aikens here) an easy one to recommend. A visit here probably isn't going to amount to the greatest meal of your life but we believe most savvy London diners are apt to leave Tom's Kitchen more than satisfied with their experience.

Tom's Kitchen is located at Somerset House, Strand (WC2R 1LA). For more information visit

Last Updated 07 September 2010


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


Thanks for the update. Glad to hear that at least the food was good. Sorry you had such a lousy service experience. Bizarre!

neon escabeche

I went to Tom's kitchen and Terrace at somerset house as part of a company dinner and was sorely disappointed by the experience. Despite having the booking weeks in advance they were poorly prepared, looking surprised to see 30 or so people. The canpes on the terrace amounted to a minute cheese tartlet and some poppadoms, though the drinks were being topped up continuously.
The dinner was a joke, it took an ahour and a half from ordering before they brought out any bread. They announced they had made a mistake with the menu pricing, but not to worry they would cover the difference, and promptly made anyone who ordered scallops change their order. My spicy crabcake was distinctly unspicy mashed potato and the main course of sea bass with escabeche was a beautfully fried piece of fish that was ruined by a conconction of miscelaneous sliced veg in an overpowering orange neon sauce. I left at eleven before dessert had been served, but don't think I missed out on much.
The wineglasses were zealously topped up, as if there the wine cellar needed to be emptied that night, clearly a way to make up the loss incured by the 'wrong menu'.
In short - surly and unprepared staff trotted out a series of excuses before serving mediocre dishes far too late in the day to be enjoyed. Poor show Mr Aitken.
I'm just glad I had several collegues to converse with whilst we all waited to be fed.