i love the festive charm of st. katharine docks on a brisk winter eve, with all its twinkly lights and pretty boats bobbing on the waters, so when i was invited along to dockside branch of tom’s kitchen a few weeks ago to experience their new autumn/winter menu i jumped at the chance.
billed as ‘a modern british brasserie serving comfort food favourites in a relaxed and informal environment’, tom’s kitchen is owned by tom aikens, one of the uk’s most acclaimed and inspirational chefs who at 26 became the youngest british chef ever to be awarded two michelin stars. the st. katharine docks outpost of his brasserie chain is the fourth; you can also find branches in chelsea, canary wharf and somerset house.
set right on the dockfront, the décor inside the restaurant is a happy fusion of rustic industrial, with white metro tiling, marble countertops, comfortable leather booths and chunky wooden tables. despite being fairly quiet when we first arrived, the restaurant soon filled up with the post-work city crowd, groups of friends catching up over a few cocktails and the odd first date playing out over candlelight in the pretty, romantic setting of the docks.
we began the evening over strawberry fizz cocktails as we perused the delicious sounding menu. given the brisk winter chill outside it was lovely to discover a whole host of seasonal winter warmers on offer, including comfort food delights such as truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, pig cheek & black pudding croquettes, chicken schnitzel and a seven-hour confit lamb for two to share.
as a starter i opted for the ‘hand’dived’ scallops with caper purée, charred cauliflower and raisin vinaigrette, while my bestie chose one of the day’s specials: autumn salad with gin & tonic dressing – and yes, it was the dressing that swayed her!
the unexpected combination of delicate scallops with the sweet, piquant flavours of the raison vinaigrette was delicious, while the gin & tonic dressing also went down a treat as a partner for the fragrant butternut squash salad.
accompanied by a lovely glass of rich spicy cabernet sauvignon (recommended by our wonderfully attentive waiter), the slow cooked pork belly with soured cabbage, spiced sausage and mustard sauce i had chosen as a main was the perfect foil for the wintery chill outside as we sat watching the boats bob frantically on their moorings. andrea tucked into roast fillets of john dory with sweetcorn and bacon sauce with grilled leeks, and we naturally couldn’t resist also splitting a portion of triple-cooked chips with truffle on the side… a decision we definitely didn’t regret for a second!
despite feeling slightly on the full side of comfortable at this point, it would have been rude not to sample the dessert menu, especially given the tasty allure of the spiced crème brûlée and the marmalade bread & butter pudding on the menu. the latter was served with a little pot of fragrant orange custard and devoured in it’s entirety in a matter of moments! the spiced brûlée was perhaps a little too spiced but offset perfectly with the addition of buttery melt-in-your-mouth shortbread.
after all this decadence on a weekday evening we decided to battle the elements and take a short brisk walk around the marina to take in all the pretty lights and harbourside charm.
it really is beginning to feel a lot like christmas..!
tom’s kitchen, 1 commodity quay, london e1
our meal at tom’s kitchen was complimentary. all photography & views my own.