In a nutshell
Serving up British staples and comfort food classics in an informal brassiere setting, Tom’s Kitchen Birmingham is renowned chef Tom Aiken’s first UK restaurant outside of the capital.
Heading up the kitchen is Tom Wells, who has spent nearly 20 years working in a wide range of restaurants across the globe. After spending most of his early career working in high-end UK kitchens, Tom set his sights further afield when he took the position of executive sous chef of Salt Grill, the on-board restaurant of P&O cruises Australia.
More recently he has held the position of head chef at other well-esteemed Birmingham restaurants such as Michelin-starred Turners at 69 in Harborne before making the move to Tom’s Kitchen.
What’s the room like?
The dim lighting and black-and-white artwork gracing the walls of this large open-plan space make you feel more like you are in a moody Manhattan brassiere than Birmingham’s Mailbox.
As with the other branches of Tom’s Kitchen, this latest Birmingham outlet puts emphasis on cooking British favourites well – this means you aren’t likely to find anything experimental on show but there is a good variety to choose from. Mains include everything from slow-cooked pork belly with smoked sausage and choucroute to truffled tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and parmesan.
If sharing is your thing, there are four dishes to choose from including seven-hour confit Herdwick lamb. (There are recipes here exclusive to Birmingham that you won’t find at the London branches.)
Menu must-orders and misfires
If you are a fan of olives, I would give them a miss here – lemon zest as a topping, didn’t work. Instead, try truffled macaroni and cheese to start – the truffle adds a depth to the creamy pasta, which is surprisingly light.
Norfolk horn lamb cutlets, best served medium rare, are tender and deliciously rich, served on a bed of spring onion mash potato. Pan-fried pollock is teamed with a refreshing fennel and orange salad and salt cod croquette – light yet filling.
The restaurant is well designed and there is no doubt the open-plan bar will entice city dwellers who work nearby for a post 9-5 tipple. As for the food, it’s a safe bet. There’s something for everyone and the quality of the food is better than average but there’s certainly not enough innovation on offer to set the Birmingham foodie scene alight.
7 Commercial Street
Written by Charlotte Philpotts
Images by David Griffen Photography