Old Tom & English, Soho
Being taken anywhere secret on a date is a full-on winner – make no mistake about it. Wardour Street is bustling all year round and if anything like me, you’ll walk past this place – twice. 187b is an otherwise innocuous, pastel blue door with a gold doorbell and a little hatch which can be opened to inspect clientele by a tiny man with a monocle and waxed moustache (if he existed). Once inside, you are met by the hostess and led down to a luxurious yet bijou Soho cave with a bar on one side of the space and an intimate living room cum boutique hotel lobby on the other side with a rather cosy feel about it. Old Tom & English is definitely one for those bitter winter nights. There are two nooks for private snuggling, the lighting is lovely and the atmosphere fizzes gently like a fine champagne.
Cocktails and small plates are the order of the day here. Don’t arrive ravenous as that never works to your advantage on a date, which is fine because Old Tom’s is the perfect place to have a pre-dinner or theatre drink and a couple of mini bites to tease the taste buds. Chef has created some very inventive plates such as deep fried cockles with salt and vinegar, crispy pig cheek with cider apple and fennel and the hen’s egg and mushrooms on toast with Jerusalem artichoke and marmite butter (this shouldn’t work but it does!). These are extremely pleasing and you will want to keep on ordering. Try sharing the lemon & thyme baby doughnut; it’s as cute and moreish as it sounds and you can kiss the sugar dust off when you can’t resist your date’s lips any longer. Drinks-wise, this is an elegant, grown up bar and you won’t go far wrong with the Elderflower Collins, a classic Old Fashioned or a Spiv’s Julep. You can trust the recommendations from the bar staff; always a plus. Service is attentive but unobtrusive.
This is a little game changer. Bring that special someone here to impress them with your excellent knowledge of labyrinthine Soho’s drinking dens. It’s very ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ The surprise element will win you points and then the winning combo of great food, drinks, atmosphere and service will ensure you win the big bag of gold coins. Start here with an early evening cocktail and nibblette and perhaps stroll leisurely through Soho after your drinks have started rushing to your head. Eventually you’ll wind your way around Piccadilly Circus and stride down toward the Wolseley for a top up of glamour, grandeur and Mittel Europa dining. Here’s hoping for it to start raining so you can open up your golf umbrella with a huge pop, huddle beneath it together and dabble with the notion of playing in the puddles as you hail a cab or head to Green Park tube station. A brandy or whisky nightcap in The Ritz’s Rivoli Bar could well be in order depending on how the night is panning out.
You’ll have to plan ahead but then you’ll have it to look forward to. Every cloud
3. Great potential.