Restaurant Review: Tom’s Bedroom
For a place with such a louche hipster moniker as Tom’s Bedroom, I expected more. The ambience, for starters, is certainly not becoming of a fine-dining establishment. Yes, it is early. Yes, it is a Saturday. But nonetheless, if you are expected to eat, you want it to appear that someone somewhere has made a semblance of effort to make the environment in some way suitable for that purpose. There is not even a demented chimp wiping cutlery clean between his hairy arse-cheeks – trust me, I did check. This has not happened. There is no chimp. Nor a table, nor chairs for that matter.
The alt-country that drags itself from the speakers does not so much prepare your brain for gastronomic delight as make it long for a noose and a place where you might not be discovered for some time. Incidentally, this could very well be that place. If music had a scent then this would smell of beard, wood-smoke and lumpy Vaseline.
There are no other diners and, to be honest, it is easy to understand why. It stinks of farts, stale alcohol and cigarettes. A window is open but it only serves to whip up the unpleasant aromas into a hurricane of olfactory misery. The conditions are a little cramped and the absence of any light, natural or otherwise, heightens not the senses but my suspicion. But enough about ambience. I am here to eat after all, God help me!
The food takes a long time to come. I ordered the full-English fry-up, and judging by the elapsed minutes, it should be spectacular. When it finally makes its way across the room, it is accompanied by such an anxious display of balance that I start to feel ill. Never before have I seen an adult human look more like they are learning to walk for the first time. It is a miracle that the food arrives, being rocked as it has been like a schooner in a force ten gale.
The presentation is slapdash, Pollockesque sprays of ingredients across an Ikea plate. The toast is cooked to perfection though, golden brown and oozing with butter. Yet the butter tastes odd. It is not salted or overly-creamy but definitely odd. After some gentle probing, I discover it is a Polish variety that I have never had the misfortune of coming across – I can only pray that it comes from a dairy cow and not some uddered wench camped out in the Tatra mountains. The pile of beans dropped onto the toast, presumably from a great height judging by the splatter pattern, are pleasant enough. Yes, they taste like they have been in a fridge for several days and still in their tin judging by the metallic taste and strange chemical reaction in my mouth but they still taste like beans, cheap, sugary, salty very average beans.
The sausages are burnt on the outside, crisp blackened shells that contain not a delicious course blend of pork and fresh herbs but the kind of scrapings you would find down the back of a student sofa. It’s ok though because these crusty tubes hold enough fat to grease the bodies of every channel swimmer since 1937.
The eggs advertised as free-range are undoubtedly that. The yolk is a vibrant yellow, something the chef has clearly celebrated by breaking it and spreading it across the white of the egg for maximum exposure and contrast. It is salty and cold, tasting like an Icelandic cure for teenage boys who find themselves enamoured to whales. It does, however, provide some textural variety. The jus that dominates the middle of the plate, tying all these complex and quite frankly disgusting flavours together, is a tomato reduction, sweet and mildly spiced. It masks a multitude of sins and helps each mouthful down, far better than the cold tea. And soon enough, miraculously, I finish but for a few skid marks left staining the plate.
When I come to pay, I look up to find the place deserted. There is still no natural light so I cannot be certain that there is not someone lurking in the shadowy corners of the room. The smell of decay is still ripe. It strikes me that this experience is like a kidnapping – I have been drugged, transported and woken up in hell. If only my captor didn’t feed me, then there would still be hope.
Full fry-up and drinks : £0.73 including service