Tom Kitchin is one of top chefs from Edinburgh and after failing to get to his restaurant, The Kitchin, a short while back, I was thrilled that he was cooking at The Cube by Electrolux. I had been to The Cube previously for an amazing lunch by Claude Bosi .
Dining at The Cube is a really special event as you feel as if you are a private guest of the chef at a very exclusive meal. There is only space for 20 people and the chef serves and introduces every dish himself.
In addition to that, if you are so inclined, you can even help in the open kitchen that is adjoining the dining area.
On this day, Tom Kitchin was doing his all Scottish Menu with all the ingredients sent down by train that very day. His signature is what he calls “From Nature to Plate” using the best seasonal local ingredients. A lot of the dishes on the menu included produce that were caught or foraged in Scotland by specialist suppliers that Tom uses. A menu like this would be very difficult to create in London if you have to rely on local suppliers.
Tom honed his skills in the kitchens of Pierre Koffman, Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse and you see the French influences in his cooking but it is far from faddy and overly cheffy. He takes great Scottish produce and produces dishes where the ingredients are the stars.
So once again, we ascended to this glass structure on the top of the Royal Festival Hall. The skies were blue and the sun was shining as we had aperitifs on the terrace before lunch. If you come for dinner, the view will be spectacular over the Thames, The Palace of Westminster and the London Eye all lit up.
As with all posh meal, we kick off with an amuse bouche of chilled fennel soup.This was swiftly followed by a really stunning Shellfish Rockpool. In the bowl was a selection of West Coast shellfish served with freshly picked sea vegetables from the Isle of Bute and with theatrical flair, the sea washed over the rockpool in the form of a shellfish consomme. Super fresh shellfish swimming in a deeply flavoured consomme. Sublime.
Every course was paired with a wine and this dish was paired with Castro Valdez Albarino 2011.
Next followed razor clams or spoots, said Tom in his lilting Scottish accent. These were from Arisaig and served with chorizo and lemon confit. Tom invited us to help him plate up and I had a go and made a bit of mess. Of all the dishes, this one was the easiest to get the guests to participate in and not make a hash of it. The dish was simple but rich in that the spoots were coated in a creamy sauce and looked spectacular served over the shells and decorated with micro herbs.
For the next course Tom served a Boned and Rolled Pig’s Head with Langoustine from the Isle of Skye and served with a crispy ear salad. Now what on earth is an ear salad? Tom says it is poor man’s crackling made by braising pigs ears which are then sliced and baked until crisp. It was also not the pig’s head but the pig’s cheek which are slow cooked until tender. This was a great one to try at home.
The pig’s head is a dish that plays on the nose to tail eating trend and this one was done very well with tender meat and the contrasting texture of the crispy ears. Paired with a Sicilian Red, Etna Rosso 2009 which was unfortunately corked but was quickly replaced by the sommelier.
The next dish described just simple as Scallop certainly had wow factor. It was a baked hand dived scallop (hand picked by Robert in ) with a white wine sauce. Tom said that this is a very easy to do for a dinner party as you can prepare it in advance and use shop bought puff pastry to seal in the edges. Good tip.You can watch him describe how to make it at home on the video. Wine pairing – A hunter’s Chardonnay, 2009.
This was followed by A rack of lamb from Dornach cooked on a bed of hay and served with Scottish girolles. There was also some neck of lamb cooked in a Big Green Egg, the oen piece of kit that every chef wants to have in their kitchen today. The use of hay was to create some smoke which added a layer of flavour to the lamb. (Tip: Tom says to buy the hay from pet shops for guinea pigs as this was usually clean enough to cook with). A full bodied Erial Tradition Familia TF from Ribera del Duero was served with this.
After that spectacular series of courses, we topped it all off with a Glazed Lemon Tart with a lemon macaron and creme fraiche sorbet.They served a lovely Sauterne from Chateu Petite Vendrines 2002.
In case we didn’t have enough to eat, we had these stunning little carrot cake bites as petit fours at the end.
What a spectacular meal and what a lovely friendly man Tom was. He was a bit shy and I guess a bit taken aback by these inquisitive food bloggers.
The Cube is running up to the end of December and if you like fine food cooked by top chefs with a personal touch, do try and book as they are very popular. Lunch is priced at £175 and dinner at £215 which includes all wines and beverages.
You can book by calling +44 (0) 207 288 6450.
You can try Tom’s food at his restaurant in Edinburgh at:
78 Commercial Quay
Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6LX
Telephone 0131 555 1755
Slow Food Kitchen was a guest of Electrolux at The Cube.