Old Tom’s, Southsea, Portsmouth

Old Tom’s. Castle Road, Southsea

UPDATE 05/04/2018:  Is now called ‘Sants’ (no good if you have a lisp…I think they could have come up with a better name than that to be honest). Although we haven’t been there yet, I’ve heard that it’s much the same menu as Sant Yago who own it.

Old Tom’s in Castle Road, Southsea opened around 7 weeks ago and belongs to Sant Yago, a tapas restaurant in Clarendon Rd., which we found very nice when we visited which was ages ago. Old Tom’s isn’t quite tapas, it’s ‘small plates’ which are a little larger than tapas. Castle Road has several lovely eateries such as Pie & Vinyl and Monty’s and they also hold events throughout the year which can be found on their Facebook page.

Clockwise from top L-R: my cocktail; wine list; and again; lighting; a cocktail menu

We ate early at 6pm on a Saturday just over a week ago, it’s all they had left when we rang late that afternoon and they mentioned they needed the table back at 8pm. I don’t normally like to book tables which give you a 2 hour time slot but as this wasn’t a three course meal I guessed it would give us enough time.

The room at the rear with the kitchen and very dim lighting

When we were shown to our table at the rear of the restaurant it was cosy with dimmed lighting, so no good for food photos I’m afraid, so forgive me if they look rather rubbish. I did my best. I suggest you take a look at their Facebook page as they show much better photographs of the same dishes.

The bar area

The wine list comes in a little scroll tied up with a piece of thin rope but curls quickly back once you’ve managed unravel it 😀 The cocktail list is in a small notebook, hand written with a little about the cocktail, the ingredients, what type of glass to use and the price. I’m not one for cocktails but thought I should have one. I went for the ‘Please sir, can I have some sch’mores? I didn’t notice the sch’smore’ bit at the end, thought it was just ‘more’ as in Oliver – tut, lost on me. The cocktail was indeed delicious and on the side was a lightly blow-torched marshmallow. Reading the notes for it I notice it’s a dessert cocktail d’oh! Ah well for me anytime is dessert time 😉

Clockwise from top L-R: chicken; beef; lamb; pork

We chose four dishes to share between us.

In order of preference for both Geoff and I –

Lemon & herb Boudin Blanc, roast lemon puree, baby fondants. Boudin Blanc is in fact a white sausage. I’ve never eaten lemon chicken before nor Boudin Blanc. It was nice enough and nothing wrong with it but I’m not sure either of us would order it again.

Pulled short rib, baby fondants, cavolo nero. This was very tasty. Served on a large rib the beef was shredded (okay, or pulled) with cavolo nero (a variety of kale) underneath which personally I wasn’t so keen on.

Pressed lamb, potato terrine, pea & mint puree. Again, very nice indeed although I found the mint a little overpowering and would have preferred more jus’ (I only had a dribble) and the lamb was a bit ‘black peppery’. Sounds as if I didn’t like it but I did 😉

Smoked pork belly, corn, confit pear. This was our favourite. The pork was lovely and tender with a thin sliver of crackling along the top. I was surprised that I enjoyed the sweetcorn sauce so much. Yum. Top marks.

Unfortunately all the dishes came out at the same time. Had we known we would have asked for them to be staggered or perhaps ordered just two at a time. It made us eat them a little too quickly to stop them going cold.

Old Tom’s reminded us very much of Brighton’s 64 Degrees which we loved, we had a different experience there though, we sat up at the kitchen counter watching and interacting with the chef’s at work who could see when we had finished before beginning to cook our next dish.

Alaska brownie

Dessert time and as there was a choice of only two we had both to share.

The Alaska brownie. The chocolate brownie wasn’t much to write home about, nor the chocolate ice-cream – neither of us are a fan of chocolate ice-cream anyway – but the silky, gooey, sticky meringue was fabulous! Too sickly for Geoff but I loved it. I would’ve been more than happy with just a bowl of it on it’s own.

Nougat parfait with pineapple

The nougat something-or-other, parfait I think but it was frozen, so similar to an ice-cream – I don’t remember what it was called as it wasn’t on the menu – was really nice and I enjoyed the warmed pineapple which came with a sticky sauce. Again, not to Geoff’s liking as he doesn’t like pineapple a lot (isn’t he fussy!) but I liked it.

We like to finish our meals off with a coffee and as our 2 hours were almost up it would’ve been nice to have sat in the bar area to drink it but alas, Old Tom’s don’t do coffee. Their machine was broken or something.

I must say that the service was very good and all the staff we’re very friendly. We both enjoyed our meal at Old Tom’s very much and will definitely be returning (hopefully they will change their menu often) and we shall take Helen along with us upon her return to the UK in July, yippee!

Ambience 8 (it probably would have been a 9 but we ate very early evening and only another table were near us – which had a very loud woman on it – plus we were near the squeaky kitchen door, next time we shall try and sit in the front of the restaurant.
Value 7
Quality 9
Service 8
Return? Yes!
Overall 8/10

Living life, loving cake

A x


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