“ Address: 275-277 High Road / Loughton / Essex / IG10 1AH „
Wildwood is a small chain of restaurants operating in London and its surrounds. They offer mainly grills and Italian inspired dishes. I recently ate at the Loughton (Essex) branch with a friend early on a Friday evening. The branch is situated on the High Street at the opposite end to the Underground Station (approx 10-15 minute walk).
We arrived at about 6.20pm and hadn't booked. There were a few families dining early, plus a few couples. We were seated at a table for two by the window and brought a food and drinks menu. It took us a while to get round to looking at the menu as we were catching up and exchanging Christmas gifts and we didn't feel rushed at all. The décor is simple and unfussy. There didn't appear to be a theme or lots of clutter on the walls. Although they do offer cocktails, I decided to go for a spirit and mixer and my friend for a glass of wine. Wines by the glass start at £3.95 for a small house wine and £13.95 for the bottle. None of the bottles seemed to be too expensive. Cocktails (limited selection) start at £4.95 and bottled beers from £3.35 (Tiger 330ml). They offered several varieties of beer as well as Becks Blue, Crabbies and Cider. There are also a good range of soft drinks including various flavoured lemonades.
For a starter I decided on the Bruschetta Pomodoro (£4.95) and my friend the baked Mushrooms (£5.25). My bruschetta was three small pieces of toast with a topping of tomatoes, red onion and pesto, which was fresh and tasty. My friend adored her mushrooms. They were in a brown stoneware dish (I am sure my late cat ate from a similar bowl) and were stuffed with gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and spinach and she found the flavours worked well and proceeded to use her dessert spoon to ensure she got the last of the sauce, which she described as like a cheesy mushroom soup. Other starters included Garlic & Rosemary bread (£3.95), Prawns in Spicy Tomato Sauce (£5.75), Deep Fried Goats Cheese (£4.95) and a shared Mediterranean platter for £9.95.
For my main course I decided on the Christmas Pizza from the specials menu. At £9.95 it was slightly more than the normal pizza which included options such as Spinach, Mushrooms and Goats Cheese or Spicy Chicken and Sausage. My pizza was topped with Brie, Spinach and Cranberry, and tasted very festive and delicious. It was obviously freshly made to order. It was a generous sized pizza and I was concerned I wouldn't finish it, but I put up a valiant effort and managed it all but a few edges. My friend went for Baked Chicken penne (£9.95). They do two options - one with mushrooms and cheese and one with tomato, ham and crème fraiche. I am not sure which option she had but she enjoyed it and cleared her plate. They also do spaghetti based dishes (£8.50 upwards), as well as risottos (from £9.95), ravioli (£9.40) and lasagne (£9.60) amongst many others. They also offer grill dishes such as burgers (from £9.50), chicken, steaks and fish, with the mixed grill being the top priced dish at £16.75. Portions seemed generous but manageable, and food seemed to be freshly prepared and tasty so I was happy with their prices.
The toilets were at the back of the restaurant and there are disabled facilities. They are simple, clean and functional. The restaurant is of a good size, and was about half full when we were there. I would recommend booking if you were a large party, or eating at peak times to be on the safe side. This is the second time I ate here, and it has never been full. Service was polite and low key. We didn't feel rushed at any time which is a good thing. My friend is a slow eater and we often find waiting staff hover around waiting for her to finish and clear the plates. Or else they give up and clear everyone else's while she continues to eat. Here they were laid back about it, but there was always someone around if we needed them. I watched them interact with other customers and thought them all to be polite and friendly. We had spent just over two hours here having two courses and a natter. Our bill (including the service charge which we added - approx 12.5%) came to £55 for the two of us to have two courses and drinks. We were happy with this and the service was good. We would definitely return as they have a good menu (including plenty of veggie options), the food is fresh, and the service is good. A full menu and list of branches is on their website.
275-277 High Road
Essex IG10 1AH
Monday to Saturday 12-11pm