The basement space at the Oxford Street end of Wardour Street that used to be the Coal Vaults has had a major makeover, courtesy of designer Lee Broom. Instead of following a conventional bar and restaurant layout, Broom's interior design at Old Tom & English is a contemporary take on the relaxed elegance of home entertaining in the Sixties.
There's a big sitting room with a fire at one end, a separate bar area with high stools and five intimate dining nooks that come off the main rooms like tiny secret satellites, seating about six-to-eight people each.
Best known for his clean-cut glass, marble and bronze lighting, Broom has been let loose to do the whole interior, commissioned by owners Costas and Maria Constantinou. Think warm grey walls, plush red carpets, marble topped tables, extremely comfortable pale grey sofas and Broom’s signature statement lighting everywhere.
Get the Look
If you’re a Mid-Century modern fan, you’re half way there already. Pop into Broom’s shop in Rivington Street, EC2, for the rest. Just remember to use dimmer lights and keep it warm. Red is a brilliant counterpoint to warm up the grey.
This is one of the few Soho eateries where you can actually book in advance for a drink and a delicious snack and feel like you’re somewhere special, as the entrance is almost hidden and you gain entry via a tiny little staircase. Great news for those of us who hate queuing.
Who goes there
It’s only just opened.
The mixologist prides himself on his barrel aged gin cocktails (£9.50) and everything is served in gorgeously chunky glassware.
Small sharing plates of simple English food are carefully prepared. We loved braised gem lettuce with anchovy and garlic (£4), a leg of meltingly tender confit of smoked guinea fowl (£9), a kale and burnt apple salad (£5) and an intense flourless salted chocolate cake (£7).
187b Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZB
Call 020 7287 7347; visit www.oldtomandenglish.com
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 5.30pm–11.30pm (last food orders 10.45pm)
Friday and Saturday: 5.30pm–midnight.