We Tried A Michelin-Starred Set Menu For Lunch In Belgravia And Were Transported Back To Childhood

It’s not every day you get to have a Michelin star lunch, certainly not for me anyway, but here I was on a Thursday, wandering up the cobbled path of an unsuspecting Georgian mews lined with Porches and Bentleys to have one.

Sporting a shiny red crest outside its humble townhouse is Muse by Tom Aikens, the intimate 23-cover restaurant run by the acclaimed chef himself, that’s received copious amounts of critical praise. I was here to see what all the fuss was about with its £50 three-course lunch menu - if the decor was anything to go by, it was about to become very clear.

Designed by Rebecca Korner and inspired by Tom, it exhibited pops of pink, a glorious purple-marbled bar and a metallic, peanut-shaped liquor cabinet (and this was only the downstairs). As I was led upstairs to where my friend and I would be dining, the colour palette shifted from creative bursts of colour to a more neutral landscape, still fronting the same grand bar but green and soft. As we were seated I felt as if I were a pearl being cocooned in ivory shell, about to tuck into a meal just as fine.

Muse By Tom Aikens London Menu | DesignMyNight

Quirky decor: this clever liquor cabinet will make you go nuts. 

The eatery’s concept is in line with its name: here dishes are an ode to the people and the places that have influenced Tom throughout his life; the result being autobiographical stories on a plate with a theatrical twist, aiming to give diners lasting memories born from his.

To begin, we enjoyed a glass of L’Extravertie-Brut Nature Pertois Lebrun Champagne before we delved into the Making and Baking. This steaming basket of bread comes from Tom’s comfort and satisfaction in creating the essential food, having learnt under the guidance of Pierre Koffmann, Richard Hart, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou and Michael James. 

Made with the freshest ingredients, including flour from Shipton Mill, it had a gorgeous nutty texture thanks to soaked barley grains. We had a trio of butters to scoop into our mouths with the malted dough as the vehicle - my favourite being the chicken, presented in a little wooden egg cup, topped with shards of chicken skin. A close second was the burnt leek, followed by the cultured edition, made using double cream from Old Hall Farm. 

Muse By Tom Aikens Chelsea | DesignMyNight

The Muse menu tastes as good as the restaurant looks. 

Full Of Beans was our starter, and that we were after hitting things off with some joyous carbs. It seems so was Tom as a child, which is why he had the idea to put together a vibrant, green plate of various heirloom legumes finished with a tangy peach leaf vinaigrette and granite to provide bags of energy.

The highlight of our midday spread was yet to come as were asked to pick our knives for the main affair. The general manager proceeded to open a case lined with three different blades. "Choose your weapon," he quipped, after explaining where each one came from. I opted for the lighter design from America, sustainable and made from Beachwood, whereas my friend went for the rosewood-handled, French design which was more weighty.

And our battle? One Of My Favourites, made up of Herdwick lamb topped with garlic leaf and lamb kofta, strained sheep’s curd and courgette (albeit pollock for me as lamb's the one meat I don’t eat and at a restaurant like this it felt like a crime). On the side was a dainty slow-braised lamb belly coated in a pomegranate glaze atop a potato flatbread, which I could admire and can attest, thanks to my friend devouring the entire thing, was delicious. I was grateful for my fish dish, and as expected, it melted in my mouth and was incredibly light on the palate, partnering well with the fresh zing of the dressed accompaniments.

Muse By Tom Aikens London Restaurant | DesignMyNight

A blast from the past: Far too tempting proved a favourite. 

We thought we’d ended on a high with Tom’s Far Too Tempting, featuring tarragon parfait, barbequed pineapple and citrus fruits. Visually, it resembled an incredibly fancy bar of soap, the sort you’d find at your grandma's house, but taste-wise it unleashed sweet and sour notes reminiscent of flavours you’d find in childhood treats like fruit salad chews and moon dust, which was the intent of this dish. I am young enough not to remember the latter, as was our waiter who remarked this in jest, but we both knew how akin this plate was to gnawing on a stick of rhubarb, covered in sugar.

However, the high continued as we left with petit fours from the pastry kitchen downstairs and as we went to say goodbye, were each given a tiny parcel to take home containing a pastel de nata. The fact that it was off-menu and packaged so elegantly topped off a dining experience that felt so incredibly personal and individual, much like Tom Aikens' cooking.

The DesignMyNight Digest

Muse by Tom Aiken’s menu was an absolute lunchtime delight - I left feeling full but not the sort that would warrant a brief nap and prevent me from carrying on with my day. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a Michelin star lunch without the eyewatering price tag for a restaurant of that calibre, I would encourage you to book here. The stories that came with the decadent plates will lead you to reflect on your own, and the fact that you can see everything come together first-hand in an open kitchen is a bonus.

  💰 The damage: Around £138 for two, excluding service charge.

  📍  The location: 38 Groom Place, SW1X 7BA.

  👌 Perfect for: A fancy lunch.

 ⭐ Need to know: Lunch is only served Thursdays through to Saturdays.

 

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