After the festive period and our brief hiatus from the blogosphere, we have been keen to get our teeth back into the egg scene.
You may all by now be familiar with our penchant for building up our appetites with the best of what London has to offer, before refuelling on the best dish in the world – eggs benedict. We think we’ve found the perfect place to spend a morning like this; Somerset House on the Strand always has something to fill your culture hole (we went for Frontline: A Year of Journalism & Conflict and 20 Years of Dazed & Confused Magazine) before heading to Tom’s Kitchen without even having to go back out into the cold.
The ‘Tom’ in Tom’s Kitchen is Tom Aikens – the ginger chef who became the youngest Briton to be awarded two Michelin stars at Pied a Terre, but whose publicist let him down magnificently when persuading him to sign up to star on Channel 4’s ridiculously cheesy ‘Iron Chef’. Google it. It really is awful.
You enter Tom’s Kitchen through an almost miss-able side door off one of the many halls of Somerset House. The deli / cafe area is light and bright with a rustic bar and some mesmerising antique maps of London (Eggbloggers do love a good map). The restaurant itself is a trio of rooms with solid wooden tables offsetting the clean, white decor. It’s minimalist enough to feel stylish and trendy, without crossing the line into institutional. The January sunlight was bouncing off the Thames and pouring through the windows, and reflecting off the mirrors running along the ceiling.
The guys behind the bar gave us a cheery hello as we arrived, but could have been a bit more helpful as we had taken our 15 layers of coats and bags off before we realised they were actually seating people for brunch in the next room. We finally made our way to the front of house area and the waitress um-ed and ah-ed a bit about how she could possibly seat us, before telling us she could squeeze us in if she was able to split one of the tables. Suffice to say, when she led us through to the next room it was completely empty, and remained so until about 5 minutes before we left…
They were able to offer us a table “for an hour and a half only”. We were able to reassure them that it what we had in mind definitely wouldn’t take an hour and a half.
As we sat down we were asked if we wanted tea or coffee, which came almost straight away (really nice loose-leaf pots). We were then given plenty of time to decide our order (hmm….how about 2 x eggs benedict, 2 x English breakfast tea and orange juice?). Our orders arrived and there wasn’t so much as a sniff when we asked for a bit more milk to go with the tea. So no complaints here.
OK. Where do you stand on the ham vs bacon debate on eggs benedict? And if it’s bacon – should it be back or streaky? We were expecting the traditional ham, as it didn’t specify on the menu. Oh god. It was bacon. Streaky bacon. Rob’s least favourite kind of cured pig. However, we both really enjoyed it as it was definitely crispy enough.
The eggs themselves were lovely. One out of the four was very slightly overdone, but generally delicious. Bright orange yolks and not done in those horrible egg moulds that we’ve seen in the kitchens of some of our previous locations. Also, there was no uncooked gloopy white, and in our opinion a very slightly overdone egg is better than an underdone egg, any day of the week. (Every day of the week? Eggs……!)
The muffins were slightly salty and well toasted. The hollandaise was extremely buttery and very rich, but with a good tang of vinegar. If anything it was a little over buttery – but this was balanced out by the salty, streaky bacon – so gave a well-balanced forkful. (But you did have to be careful to get the mix of egg, hollandaise and bacon right, otherwise you could end up feeling a bit like you’d just licked the Lurpak.)
Style: Streaky Bacon
Value: 5.5/10 (£9.50 for two eggs)
Eggsecution (Cooking Of Eggs): 7/10
Will we be going back? Perhaps when we’re feeling flush, and if there’s something good on at Somerset House. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t single it out for recommendation. Check out the brunch menu here.