Recently a group of us went to Tom Aikens. Coming from New York I had heard some very good things about him. The rest of the group were all from London and had also heard good things about his establishment. The dishes were simply too complex. A clear case of more is less. While the eight of us at the table were glad to have experienced his cooking none of us hold any thoughts about returning.
Shame you did not enjoy it more Withnail42 - I have been to Aikens a few times and think it is a really good venue with a fantastic cheese board, great variety of food,and really inspirational cooking. I think a common problem with people visitng a place like this is that they are expecting a superb French meal, whereas this is a place dedicated more to culinary evolution - creating inspirational, querky dishes utilising a range of techniques, and often taking the main ingredient and presenting it in different ways - e.g. foam, puree and pan fried, to contrast how the texture and taste is altered according to technique. Not to everyone's taste though!
I went after seeing a show about him and his new restaurant. It was his innovation and vision that intrigued me. Because it is odd that out of a decent size party no one had a particularly memorable meal. All of those present are open to new chefs and their visions.
I realized that I had forgotten to add that the service was painfully /shamefully slow and unresponsive. Four hours for three courses is a bit on the long side.
Perhaps we had an off night.
I have been to TA twice. The first time was inspirational. The second time was grim. I believe that he is one of these chefs who is willing to take risks with the cooking...and therefore you have to risk eating those risks which don't come off.
So if you want a "safe" meal go elsewhere. But you won't lack for interest at TA