Tom Kitchin at The Electrolux Cube Review:
There have been a number of great chefs already at the Electrolux The Cube on the Southbank including Claude Bosi and Sat Bains but I’ve been abroad on at least two of the occasions when I could perhaps have gone. Having said that, Tom Kitchin is a chef I’ve never seen cook before and whose eponymous Edinburgh restaurant is on my personal wish-list. And, in my heart, with family roots as a West Coast Islander, I have a strong affinity with Scotland. So, being invited to his event at the Electrolux Cube in London was rather special for me.
The Electrolux Cube is at the very top of the Festival Hall, tucked away from the main concert venue and with splendid views over the Thames and London. We were lucky that, apparently for just one afternoon this summer, the sun shone! We sipped champagne on the balcony and enjoyed parmesan and fennel seed cheese straws before our meal.
Inside The Cube, the white shell of a room has an open-plan kitchen at one end full of shiny stainless steel Electrolux appliances and a long table to seat eighteen or so diners in a way that lets everyone see the kitchen at work. Our chef was smiling throughout as he served more and more great food.
We started with a chilled fennel soup as Amuse Bouche and some home-made rolls served in what looked a bit like an inverted tam o’shanter. Then, the shellfish rockpool which I think is a signature dish from Tom’s Kitchin in Edinburgh.
Each of us was presented with a soup bowl containing west coast shellfish and foraged Isle of Bute ‘sea vegetables’ (seaweed?). With some drama, the bowls were filled up with ‘the tide’ – a shellfish consume to half submerge the sea beasts.
Now, the drama is one thing, but the real test of course is the flavour of the food. The shellfish (prawns, cockles and mussels) were fresh and light while the ‘tide’ was intense but not overpowering.
We went on to try some razor clams which Tom told us were called spoots in Scotland. He described how they are harvested, apparently you need to walk backward along the beach so that the spoots think you are going away from them and emerge through the sand. So, next time I go to Mull, I shall be looking out for backward beach foragers…These particular razor clams came from Arisaig and were lightly cooked, according to the menu with chorizo and lemon confit, although I didn’t actually spot the chorizo and I know ours were made special by adding foraged wood sorrel. I’ve eaten razor clams before at the Harwood Arms, but these were a lot lighter and delicate. Tom told us they took no more than a few seconds to cook.
Next, Pigs Head with Langoustine. Well, at least a pulled pork dish served as a kind of upmarket surf and turf with a very fresh langoustine from Skye on the side. Very delicious and very beautiful to look at. I’m afraid the langoustine disappeared from my plate before I took a picture. That’s the problem with great food, you want to eat it not take pictures of it!
Then, a dish that Tom described as something you might make at home for a dinner party. Well, HE might – I’m not sure I could make it work, but it did look very pretty! Hand Dived Orkney scallops baked in their shell and served with a white wine sauce.
With a slightly wicked smile he even suggested we might cheat and buy the pastry ready made to seal the shells!
My personal favourite and something I will experiment with, a rack of Dornoch lamb cooked in hay and served with Scottish girolles.
To finish, a lemon tart with lemon macaroon and crème fraiche sorbet all nicely garnished with Scottish raspberries and a little crunchy oatmeal, cranachan style.
These dishes were all pair with appropriate wines. My personal favourites, a red wine from Sicily, Etna Rosso 2009 and the Chateau Petit vedrines Sauternes 2002 that we finished the meal with.
And finally coffee and some little carrot cake ‘truffles’. Just in case we hadn’t eaten enough already.
It was a fascinating insight into the workings of a professional kitchen and a great demonstration of the fantastic produce available in Scotland. I loved the hay cooked lamb which was incredibly tender and had a slightly sweet smokey taste. And the rockpool really did remind me of my childhood by the sea, taking home buckets of shrimps, shellfish and little fishes and trying to persuade my mother to cook them. I’m sure if she had done so they wouldn’t have tasted half as good though!
I dined at The Cube at the invitation of Electrolux. Lunch, including all wines, coffee and service is £175 while dinner is £215. Electrolux – The Cube is also available for private hires and this would be a fantastic venue for a special party or event. I imagine views over London for the dinner events at Electrolux The Cube are even more astonishing.
You can book the Electrolux Cube until the end of September by calling +44 (0) 207 288 6450