★★★★ | Tom, Dick & Harry’s, Loughton
Tom, Dick & Harry’s are not people you work with, or people you went to school with or who met at the local pub last year. Tom, Dick & Harry’s are actually the names of the three escape tunnels in The Great Escape. It’s also the name of a restaurant and bar located in Loughton.
With perhaps the nicest staff this side of Mile End, Tom, Dick & Harry’s (TD&H) is perhaps the place to be, and be seen, in and around the Loughton area. Just a few minutes walk from the Central Line, it’s also perfect for those who want to get out of London to try a new dining experience in an area where you’ve not yet been to. Granted, there is not a whole lot to do in Loughton, but visiting TD&H is definitely worth a visit.
A beautifully designed restaurant, intimate and cosy while at the same time with a metropolitan feel, TD&H offers an all-day destination dining experience. And the food is cooked and prepared by real professionals, people with a passion for food, and served by people who have a passion for their customers, who want their customers to enjoy their experience.
On the Sunday when we paid a visit, we were told by the chef that the menu changes daily, depending on what they can source from the local butcher or whatever is freshest and available each day. We were lucky to have on the menu the Sunday Roast club menu – for this is what my friend ordered. Roast Rump of beef (Angus crossbreed) was served with, of course, a Yorkshire pudding, horseradish, gravy, with the three C’s (cabbage, carrots and cauliflower), with huge potatoes – and it was a nice size portion. My friend absolutely loved it. While he enjoyed the meat dish, I had fish, which I hardly ever order – The Grilled Tuna Steak was very good. Perfectly cooked and sized, with spring onions, almonds, and greens – the Tuna was delectable, but it was the unusual, and extremely delicious tomato and pepper paste that won my taste buds over – wow! The entire dish was a perfect combination of everything, and with my side order of large potatoes, it was a perfect meal.
The starters, or as TD&H call them Nibbleinis, where there were quite a few choices, but we settled for three of them. My spicy chorizo, tomato and chickpea stew, was, as expected, good, but not very hot. My friend had the Fried crisp Cornish squid with togarashi pepper with lime, and on the side was a strange looking small bowl of squid ink in mayo (and sesame, lime and fish sauce), which was an average portion. Warning, the squid ink isn’t to everyone’s liking! We also sampled the nice Burrata (glob of cheese), salsa verde, with pine nuts, it was a bit heavy, but the pine nuts made it stand out. All the above were high priced at £8 each. TD&H also cater to larger parties where the price of carvery will vary according to size.
The dessert selection was all about creams, chocolates, and dairy dairy dairy. I had the Vanilla cream pears and blackberries dish, but the cream was too much – I wish there had been more berries and pears. However, the dark chocolate mousse, candied peanuts, with ice cream was very tasty. Both desserts were £7 each.
Have a read through their Signature cocktails menu. Specifically designed for the restaurant by its manager and drink connoisseur Gabriele, he has assigned names to various drinks. We had the Tom Hardy – “I liked you better when you were drunk” – which almost perfectly matched the actor’s personality. It was unexpectedly sweet what with vodka, grapefruit lemon, basil and brown sugar – muddled & stirred (£12). The Sex Bomb (Tom Jones) was just superb, with honey, honey cognac, lemon, and champagne, served in a wine glass (£14) – refreshing and went just right with the meal.
Wine must be taken with the meal, and TD&H have an amazing, but not quite overwhelming, wine list which includes whites, reds, champagnes and an amazing selection of Roses – wine that goes practically with every meal.
The early Sunday evening we were there the restaurant remained jam-packed, with a lively piano player off to the side playing very nice mellow tunes.
Everyone at every table looked happy – probably because the food and ambience were so good (even the man celebrating his 50th birthday party in the back looked happy!). But also credit to the staff, they were very attentive, took their time, were patient when asked questions, were always smiling, and were even concerned when the table next to us left more than half their food on their plate. It’s the kind of service that’s hard to find in other restaurants. Perhaps being in Loughton the staff are not as rushed and cold as most staff in restaurants in London are? Who knows. But TD&H may not particularly attract a London crowd, but it’s perfect and just right for the people of Loughton and it’s surrounding areas.
Open Saturday from 10:00 to 00:30
Open Sunday from 12:00 to 22:00
Book online or call 0203 327 3333 for reservations
153 High Road
T. 0203 327 3333
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.