A restaurant with an open kitchen is quite an ordinary sight these days, but one that has two – and in a venue that only house 25 covers – is unique. But then Muse, which marked Tom Aikens’ return to fine dining in the capital following the closure of his eponymous two Michelin-starred flagship, is a very individual place.
Set over two floors of a former Georgian townhouse, Muse is an intimate affair with Aikens having created a menu of dishes inspired by nostalgia, moments in time and key people from the chef’s life. One dish, called ‘Conquering the Beech Tree’, is inspired by Aikens as a child challenging himself to climb the tall beech tree at the bottom of his garden; while a dessert of ‘wait and see’ recalls what his mother would say when asked what was for pudding.
The singular nature of Muse doesn’t end there. In an attempt to create a restaurant like no other in the capital, Aikens has thrown out the design rulebook with a restaurant of two distinct styles. The ground floor bar area has an Austin Powers meets Barbarella vibe with strong colours and lined patterns, while upstairs the neutral colour palette creates a more relaxed environment.
Dishes are prepared in front of diners in the open kitchens with the small number of covers suiting Aikens’ precise and ambitious cooking style, which has just a touch of flamboyance. The restaurant also serves what has to be some of the best petits fours in London, meaning that you will leave the restaurant on that all important high.