Occupying part of historic Somerset House near the river, Tom’s Kitchen is made up of a bar room, and three interlinking dining rooms, all pleasant, high-ceilinged spaces with little personality. Large modern canvases hang on white walls; seating is a mix of banquettes, booths and chairs at modern wooden tables. Tom Aikens runs the place in conjunction with the Compass Group, and there is a slight air of the corporate about the place, dispelled on our evening visit by charming, solicitous service.
The menu is divided into ‘classics’ (grilled open steak sandwich, nicely garlicky, and served with watercress, tomato, shallot rings and excellent, triple-cooked chips) and seasonal dishes (rich venison casserole with root vegetable mash and a slighty-too-sweet gravy). There are also daily specials (smooth butternut squash soup, very tomatoey risotto), and a short list of puds. Maple syrup and cinnamon-stick crème brûlée did the job, but the baked alaska (only available to share) may have offered more excitement. Weekend brunch adds eggy dishes and hefty salads to the mix.
All decent enough, but with few fireworks, and one big drawback – the prices are simply too high for the quality on offer. Also on the premises are Tom’s Deli (a daytime café) and Tom’s Terrace (on the terrace facing the Thames, open spring and summer only).