Acclaimed British chef Tom Aikens’ new restaurant Muse, in Belgravia, London will open this weekend and some are perplexed by the menu.
A chef of undoubted talent, Aikens still holds the record for being the youngest British chef to be awarded two Michelin stars. For his new restaurant, he has chosen a menu format that may leave some diners scratching their heads as they will have to guess the ingredients.
Set in a small, quirky converted Georgian townhouse mews building in London, The 25-cover restaurant will open its doors on January 11th. The opening is highly anticipated with the media sitting up to take notice, particularly for the unconventional menu format.
The Daily Mail ran with the headline ‘Is this the most pretentious menu ever?’
‘Diners planning to try out Tom Aikens' latest venture Muse will be left scratching their heads at what the menu actually offers,’ snarked the Mail.
Each dish has a creative name that relates to some particular experience or inspiration of the chef, creating a ‘gastronomic autobiography'. The cryptic names include 'Forever picking', an ode to his memories of foraging edible plants with his mother, 'Just down the road' and 'Wait and see'.
'Conquering the Beech Tree', was inspired by the chef's childhood memory of climbing a beech tree at the end of his garden and is an unconventional joining of langoustine, pork fat and burnt apple.
Another dish, entitled 'The love affair continues', has been inspired by Aikens’ French mentors Joël Robuchon and Pierre Koffmann, honouring Robuchon’s signature mashed potato and Koffmann’s renowned method of cooking fish in goose fat.
A cocktail list has been created for Muse by the celebrated Ryan Chetiyawardana of Mr Lyan and Lyaness fame. All cocktails are prepared by the chefs, balancing the flavours of the drinks as they would food.
It’s easy to poke fun at the menu at Muse, however, when you take creative risks or add flourishes, you’ll always attract the ire of some. Shouldn’t creative bravery be applauded? The dining card at Muse seems more like an album sleeve with song titles than a restaurant menu. It’s true that the chef is an entrepreneur, but the chef is also an artist. With years of training under some of the greatest chefs in the world, Aikens has surely earned the right to express his talent in any way he chooses?