Old Tom and English, Soho
Even the most experienced Soho dater would be forgiven for missing the entrance to Old Tom and English. Resembling a good looking door to a fancy English home, you ring to get in before the receptionist has to bolt up from her perch and welcome you in. Coats checked, you go down into a stunning basement – a cross between an 18th century gin palace and 1960s private members’ club. Lashings of brass, reflective surfaces, all curves and angles, art and texture. Red carpets set the tone and couples gather around tiny tables in cahoots. There are a couple of hideaways for intimate meals, while diners in the main room are very much under the beady gaze of people watchers. It feels a little like a very good looking television set, inviting a self-consciousness that adds some needed tension to dates.
A shot of sweet pea soup followed by a stunning crispy bacon and gooey egg salad to share. Go easy on the starters as the main courses are substantial. The chef’s skills can be tasted in the juices to dip your fat chips in, from the delicate jus on the steak to the rich, sweet onion gravy with the bangers and mash. Buttery greens on the side and enough room for a Eaton Mess in a martini glass. The focus is the food, so a cocktail to start then a good glass of red with the meal will suffice.
Old Tom’s is perfect for an elegant Thursday evening dinner. Take the time to change from work attire into something a bit loungey and elegant. Flat shoes for women, zero suits for men. Don’t try and make this into a loud and lary date as you’ll only disturb the delicate ambiance in the room. Knock knees over the small table, flirt, serve each other and leave after 90 mines. Then follow up with a solitary kiss on the Soho streets and separate Ubers home.
Small chairs make big dates look like the BFG.
3. But if you get one of the secluded snugs, I imagine it’s a 5+.