Chef from Norfolk opens restaurant where diners don't know what they'll get to eat
PUBLISHED: 19:15 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:36 07 December 2019
A top chef is to open a new restaurant with a real twist next month and says the menu has been inspired by his Norfolk childhood.
Tom Aikens, 49, spent much of his childhood living in Blakeney, north Norfolk, and has now channeled his favourite memories from that time into the dishes served at Muse, in Belgravia, London.
Mr Aikens - the youngest British chef ever to hold two Michelin stars after his second was awarded when he was 26 - told the Evening Standard that he had considered more than 100 sites in the capital before deciding on a location for the eatery, which will seat just 25 diners on five tables at any one time.
But his ten-course tasting menu, costing £145, only gives clues about what each dish may contain through a series of anecdotes, but diners will have to wait until they are seated to find out more about what exactly they will be eating.
This has led to accusations of it being 'pretentious' and 'baffling' by some critics.
The famous cook says his latest restaurant venture is inspired by key events and memories from his past, including a dish inspired by catching crabs on the north Norfolk coast and the use of ingredients from Old Hall Farm in Woodton "because it is very close to my Norfolk roots".
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On his website, Mr Aikens said: "Throughout my life I have been inspired and influenced by many different people, places, times and travels.
"I still carry with me an inherent pride of my Norfolk provenance, alongside the many places that were considered a home-from-home in those early years.
"That's why my new home, Muse, pays homage to all of these and more. To the big and the small things that have had the greatest impact on my life, inside and outside of the kitchen, and that to this day mean the most to me."
Mr Aikens has published three books on cooking and starred in Channel 4's Iron Chef UK in 2010 alongside Martin Blunos, Sanjay Dwivedi and Judy Joo.
This is not the first time that he has run his own restaurant - in 2003 he opened Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea, which lasted until 2014, while Tom's Place lasted only six months.
Now, he runs restaurants in Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.
Last year he returned to Norfolk to treat students at City College Norwich - his alma mater - to a cookery masterclass.