Although Tom Aikens first made his mark in haute cuisine, this brasserie is his stab at a more egalitarian style of cooking and service. It offers ‘food for everyone and anyone’ – as long as they can afford it. This is primarily a local for Chelsea Green residents; wear Thomas Pink or Joseph and you’ll fit right in.
Still, the place is highly likeable. It’s the comfort food that gets the attention – macaroni cheese, fish pie, beef burger, calf’s liver with mash – but the menu is lengthy and extends to the likes of pan-fried foie gras with duck egg and Ventreche bacon.
We’ve had complaints of poor service, and suspect that on very busy nights the tables would feel unpleasantly cramped. However, with an upbeat crowd and a bit of room for manoeuvre, the vibe is jolly good fun. Even better is a quiet breakfast time, when you can linger over superb pancakes and well-made coffee.
The decor – white brick tiles, marble counters, sleekly chunky wood furniture – was ahead of its time and still looks the business. The branch at Somerset House doesn’t have quite the same verve, but the location is a draw nevertheless.