A new exciting young man on the restaurant scene
“Eating fresh and with the seasons was a way of life for me; much of my childhood was focused around food and nature. I have fond memories of gathering ingredients to cook in my mum’s kitchen. Being surrounded by wonderful produce, and the joy I found in food and sharing it, is what first inspired me to become a chef.” Tom Simmons
One of my favourite TV shows is MasterChef, and in 2011, there was one particular young chef that caught my attention, and who ended up being the youngest competitor to reach the quarter finals. It was Tom Simmons.
Originally from Pembrokeshire, Wales, Tom’s respect and passion for nature, produce and cooking has been a major part of his life from a young age. His earliest memories are of roaming farmers’ markets, foraging in the countryside, and harvesting his mother’s vegetable garden. After Masterchef, Tom consolidated his experience heading up the kitchen at the Wolfcastle Country Hotel in his native Pembrokeshire, and in 2017 opened his own restaurant in London, Tom Simmons at One Tower Bridge.
One evening this summer, I decided to visit his restaurant. I had heard about the trouble it went through last year and how Tom had managed to pull through and make a success of it. The place is small, airy and modern, with a lovely bar downstairs, contemporary stools, an inviting sofa and a very elegant parquet floor.
Upstairs, the restaurant is decorated with striking and dramatic black and white scenes of the Welsh coast and countryside.
The menu designed by Tom reflects how he is maturing as a chef, and so does the wine list, which is both exciting and classic. We chose a 2015 Pouilly Fumé from Arrêt Buffatte, a wine of incredibly complex scent and mineral character, which feels light in the palate with a sharp but creamy finish.
Foodwise, we started with a delicate dish of cured salmon, with a salmon foam crisp and pickled cucumber; and although I am normally slightly alarmed by foams – they´ve been so overdone, this one was delightful. My companion chose the Welsh Black Beef Tartare, utterly divine with its touch of black truffle, which actually enhanced the flavor of the beef, and perfectly complemented the beef fat croutons.
To follow, my companion had the Welsh Spring Lamb, which was, as promised, perfectly cooked, gently pink all the way through. It came with spiced aubergine and smoked yogurt , which brought the dish together in perfect harmony. I chose the Creedy Carver Duck breast. I wasn’t sure the celeriac, spring cabbage and pickle cherry were going to work together but , as they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and I was pleasantly surprised with how well all the elements in this dish worked together.
I am not one for being greedy, but I do have a terribly sweet tooth and so, find difficult to resist dessert, especially when it comes in the form of white chocolate cheese cake. I simply could not resist! The combination of basil and strawberry was heavenly. However my lion (nickname for my companion) decided to out-trump me with his choice of peanut butter parfait. It was like going into an old fashion sweetie shop. It seems that I may become a regular.
Tom Simmons at Tower Bridge. 2 Still Walk, London SE1 2RA
Telephone: +44 (0) 203 848 2100 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org