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Tom Aikens, London

43 Elystan Street
Tube: South Kensington
England SW3
Tel: 44 207 584 2003
view web site ›'s insider take:

This sleek Anouska Hempel–designed restaurant in Chelsea is the stage for the talents of Tom Aikens, who after difficult times (his restaurant company succumbed to the credit crunch in 2008) has nevertheless managed to uphold this restaurant's reputation as one of the United Kingdom's most serious gastronomic destinations. The posh but relaxed 60-seat interior has round tables dramatically draped in black and overlaid with raw white Irish linen; matching napkins and beautiful glass and chinaware complete the look. The effect is grown-up—not sedate—chic. On the menu, expect innovative French-informed cooking that stops short of being wacky and experimental. Standout examples include cured venison with pickled beets, quince, and venison carpaccio, and red mullet with pistachio risotto. If you can't decide, order the tasting menu, which runs to eight courses. A bonus: the excellent sommelier.—Updated by Giovanna Dunmall

Open Mondays through Fridays noon to 2:30 pm and 6:45 to 11:00 pm, Saturdays 6:45 to 11:00pm.

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