Tom's Kitchen Birmingham
Tom’s Kitchen has paused from its rapid colonisation of London to make its debut in Birmingham. Sat Bal dropped into the new location at The Mailbox.
Glass lift doors open to reveal an airy reception space with the restaurant edging out into The Mailbox as if to remind itself that it’s part of the complex. First impressions are that the restaurant’s design is relatively spartan amid the high-gloss glam of its Mailbox neighbour Harvey Nichols, although both venues can safely lay claim to the ‘reassuringly expensive’ tag.
This conflation of traditional and contemporary is something of a hallmark of Tom’s Kitchen where familiar British food favourites are treated with Tom’s twist. Settling into our places, the quality of the venue’s fit-out is obvious, even if the close spacing of neighbouring tables threatens diner privacy. Like its sibling restaurants Tom’s Kitchen Birmingham is unashamedly meat-driven as depicted by olde butcher’s shop wall tiling and an earthy colour palette of brass pendant lighting, oaken tables and caramel Chesterfields.
On this Wednesday night business looks reasonable with alternate tables across the restaurant populated by predominantly middle-aged diners. With predominantly Wolverhampton twangs. Elsewhere, corporate types drop in for some after work tie-loosening at the cosy bar which serves craft beers, classic cocktails, champagne and alongside fine wines from around the world.
The meat dishes feature an array of steaks, burgers and lamb variants. Fish options include poached monkfish and traditional fish and chips. We decide on a starter of seasonal parsnip and honey soup which nicely whets the appetite for the meaty prospects ahead.
When we do get to the main course, a disappointment awaits. There’s no Daylesford seven-hour confit of lamb! We wonder whether this is a mid-week omission.
This epic dish which, by definition, takes most of the day to cook had wowed us at the opening of Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House many moons ago. Back then, the seven-hour lamb was the star of the media launch party. Even Michelin-starred Tom was present to explain his concept but tonight, in the absence of Tom Aikens or his confit, we opt for the lamb cutlets. We soon get past our bias with the help of a bottle or so of cabernet franc.
The real food success story of the night was the steak. The steak fans in our party positively cooed over the chunky cooked-to-order Cumbrian rib eye with peppercorn sauce.
Dessert raised more cooing. Dark treacle sponge arrived with ice cream was kindly presented with requested off-menu custard. The chocolate and peanut butter fondant all but silenced the table. New dishes have been added to the Birmingham menus include spiced pumpkin with burrata, savoury granola and hazelnut dressing.
For less indulgent, healthier fare the restaurant serves weekend brunch, with dishes such as superfood granola served with honey and Greek yoghurt and Bircher muesli.
The bill weighed in at around £60 per head including drinks.
The restaurant features two private dining rooms, one accommodating 12 guests and the other, 16. There’s also the Veranda, a semi-exclusive area that has capacity for 36-40 people and is useful for networking events. Then there’s the deli area in the Urban room that’s available for a networking event of 50-200 guests.
Diners might be surprised that the restaurant features only one unisex toilet but there is a more adequate set a few steps away from the restaurant.
Atul Kochhar, the two-Michelin-starred chef and TV personality is also about to open a new restaurant at The Mailbox.