Tom's Kitchen, Chelsea
27 Cale Street
020 7349 0202
by Duncan Soldiers
The back streets of Chelsea are rarely on the radar when it comes to searching for the perfect breakfast – local residents not being ones for sausage, egg and chips, unless the Atkins diet happens to be back in fashion that particular week.
However, one new arrival who seems to be hauling the yummy mummies out of their carbon copy King’s Road coffee shops is Tom Aitken and his trendy farmhouse kitchen. Goodbye, ladies who lunch; hello, ladies who breakfast.
The cutlery in Tom’s is ‘try-hard’ cool - lots of odd shaped glasses and retro cups that make you think you’re going to spill your tea, and then make you spill your tea. This is the antithesis of the greasy spoon – hence no builders’ mugs the size of waste paper bins here.
First of all, I plumped for the porridge with brown sugar (slow release carbs apparently – good for the waistline and all that). The bowl arrived - a huge, great portion and at £3 surely the most reasonably priced dish in Chelsea. It was thick, steamy and gluppy – perfect pre-shopping fare. My partner in breakfasts went for the half grapefruit – which apart from being already cut up for you (don’t be silly; Chelsea Sloanes don’t cut their own fruit) did exactly what it said on the tin. It was fresh, juicy and tart.
After my affair with the porridge, I felt it would be rude not to try their take on the full English: mushroom, tomato, sausage, black pudding (a lovely, meaty, fatty, angina-inducing treat), fried eggs, bacon, and beans served in a separate dish, all delivered on a thick wooden platter. You don’t get that at your local greasy spoon, but from now on that’s how I’m ordering it.
My only gripe would be that the food was ever so slightly cold, but I presume that’s because the place was rammed to the rafters (we waited 10 minutes for a table). In future I’ll book. Still, at £30 for two, I expected it to be hot, no matter how busy they were.