27 Cale Street, London, SW3 3QP
You know the caff on the high street that does a gargantuan fry-up with builder’s tea for £3? You know that everyone posh likes to believe that they aren’t really? Imagine what the caff might look like if you transposed it to Chelsea…. and welcome toTom’s Kitchen!The restaurant decor is appropriately minimalist with clean white tiles instead of brown paint and instead of pictures of the Queen and framed cuttings (from when the caff was featured in Layer Cake or Notting Hill or some other Britflic) you have random pieces of “art” that you think might be a knife holder but don’t want to embarass yourself by trying them out.
However, the food is nice and not actually too expensive and you can get blueberry pancakes for breakfast (which they haven’t actually ever heard of at the caff) so it’s not all bad. Plus, of course, they have toilets, which the caff never has. More precisely they have a toilet, perhaps they felt they shouldn’t stray too far from their roots by providing more than one. Nonetheless toilets are what we are interested in, of course. So how does it measure up?
To get to the toilets you go through a door in the main restaurant into a wierd corridor with a door immediately to your left. This, it transpires, is not the door for the toilet but strange door back to the reception. Assuming you have run this gauntlet you make your way downstairs. There is a main door to the two toilets (m and f obviously) but there is almost no room to manoeuvre yourself either into or out of the toilet, especially if Rupert is standing at the bottom of the stairs, however politely he insists you go before him (and he does by the way, one of the benefits of Chelsea). Once you’ve inserted yourself in the cubicle there is a hook, the door to the main cubicle is good and solid and there is room for movement. Standards of cleanliness, not brilliant, which we were not expecting, after all this is Chelsea, darling. There were bits of toilet paper all over the floor and we all know the dangers of “trailing”. The same clean tiling styling is continued throughout but then an incongruous fin de siecle-style cut glass mirror is popped on the wall over the sink. Odd, could it be because a need was felt for a touch of the girlish about the place? Not necessary we aver.
Overall ok. Which, as you know by now is a damning indictment by this particular editorial crack squad. When will restauranteurs learn that dining is about the whole experience?