Is this the most pretentious restaurant menu ever?

Top chef Tom Aikens is pictured above with partner Justine Dobbs-Higginson. The twice-married chef is a familiar face to TV viewers with appearances on series such as Great British Menu

Top chef Tom Aikens is pictured above with partner Justine Dobbs-Higginson. The twice-married chef is a familiar face to TV viewers with appearances on series such as Great British Menu

As a new restaurant from one of Britain's top chefs, it has already been much-hyped.

But diners planning to try out Tom Aikens' latest venture Muse will be left scratching their heads at what the menu actually offers.

In what must be a contender for Britain's most pretentious menu, the tiny restaurant in Belgravia, central London, gives only the vaguest of hints about the food.

Instead of conventional names for each of the ten dishes on the £145 tasting menu, Aikens gives them titles such as 'Just down the road', 'The love affair continues' and – perplexingly – 'Wait and see'.

Each course has a paragraph of explanation – which the chef describes as his 'gastronomic autobiography' – but the flowery text is thin on specifics, leaving diners to guess whether it is meat, fish or fowl.

While 'surprise' dishes have been a staple among trendy restaurants offering high-end tasting menus, Aikens' take represents a new twist.

The restaurant, which opens in the new year, has only five tables with space for 26 diners. The good news is that once they are seated, more information will be forthcoming. Tom Aikens is pictured above outside the restaurant under-construction in October

The restaurant, which opens in the new year, has only five tables with space for 26 diners. The good news is that once they are seated, more information will be forthcoming. Tom Aikens is pictured above outside the restaurant under-construction in October

The opening course, 'Forever picking', is about as explicit as the menu gets. 

Promising snacks 'inspired by the seasons', it says the course 'stems from my recollection of being in the garden with my mother and picking anything that was edible'.

But quite what a dish named 'We all have our 'Beech tree' moment' entails is anyone's guess. Aikens says it is inspired by a childhood memory of climbing a tree.

'The essence' promises to take a single ingredient, 'searching for its essence, then developing a truly refined and unique taste'. 

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