Old Tom and English is hidden away in an 18th‑century basement in the heart of Soho, on Wardour Streeet. Very strangely this is the exact same spot where I took my partner for her birthday last year only to find out the place had shut down a few days before…Even though I had a booking no one thought of letting me know so we ended up eating in the next door burger place while dressed for a fancy restaurant, not the evening I had in mind!
So here I am, I press the doorbell hoping for the history not to repeat itself, and luckily this time someone is here to open the door and to lead us downstairs to the dining area. The place has a lovely ambience and a homely atmosphere, in fact you feel like going into somebody’s apartment. The room is 1960s-style, marble-heavy and contains luxurious furnishings. It is filled with low tables and very comfy sofas in front of a circular marble fireplace with plinths either side. The low lighting adds to the intimacy and gives a very romantic feel.
We each started with a gin cocktail; I had a barrel-aged gin Old Fashioned which was very nice and my partner went for the Elderflower Collins which turned out to be very sweet.
The food menu contains tapas-style dishes meant to be shared, and features modern British cuisine. We tried a variety of dishes, and most of them were of great standard. The British charcuterie platter was excellent and reminded me that good English charcuterie can be found outside the famous St Johns. We then both had 63° egg and green asparagus, a classic which was well executed and delicious.
The dish of the night was the lamb sweetbread salad which was very delicate and tender. On the downside, the Crispy pig cheeks were good, but somehow disappointing as I was expecting stronger flavor. The scallops were a big disappointment; a very small dish for the price (only two scallops for 9£) accompanied by a sauce way too sweet for seafood.
We decided to end the night with a plate of cheese and an almond tart. Strangely we had the tart first which was coming with a tasty rice pudding ice cream. Being French, I have no great expectation when I hear about British cheeses (sorry!) however this will no longer be the case now that I have discovered the Gubbeen cheese, an Irish semi-soft cow milk cheese, a serious rival to my beloved French cheeses. In complement to our desert I went for the coffee cocktail which was tiny but I can’t recommend it enough to all coffee lovers out there! The Vodka infused with fresh ground coffee and sweetened with Tia Maria was perfectly balanced and one of the best cocktails I had recently.
Verdict: Book, find door number 187b, press the shiny doorbell and impress your date
PS: double check it’s still open before you go.
Old Tom and English 187 Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZB
Monday – Thursday: 5.30pm-11.30pm. Friday-Saturday: 5.30pm – Midnight