"Garlic and Shots"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
Olsson’s Garlic and Shots or just Olsson’s – is a Swedish bar of great repute on Frith Street, in the heart of Soho. But first things first – no lame vampire jokes, they just wouldn’t do it justice. That’s not to say that the bar doesn’t have a sense of humour, just that it’s above that kind of thing. So, no ‘vampires beware’, no ‘order the stake’ and certainly no ‘beware of your breath’ type LOLs. Just no.
Garlic and Shots is one of those places that just belongs to Soho. Like Bar Italia and the Rupert Street sex shops, it’s an institution. Not that it’s an easy place to describe. The faintly gothic, historic space is filled with trinkets and tat collected over the years, which gives it a strangely homely theme to go with its Swedish doom.
Upstairs, the restaurant space is as you might expect an old Swedish café to look – although having not seen what a Swedish café looks like could be the only reason for that feeling. Black paint covers a lot of the space, simple chairs and tables cover the floor and the menu covers a vast range of garlic inspired food. So in short, a lot of covering.
You’ll find burger and chips with plenty of garlic attached, crayfish tail nachos with garlic sauces and, of course, dessert will mean a scoop or two of garlic ice cream. The rest of the menu continues in the same vain with garlic on everything. While Garlic and Shots might not be the first place that springs to mind when you’re out for a meal in Soho, it shouldn’t be the last.
For drinks, think garlic infused beer – or choose standard beer by the bottle for those who have indulged once before – and the shots from the bars title. Tomato juice, chilli and garlic plus other experimental concoctions.
If you want customer service, go to the Disney store, this is an institution and while the old manager can be a curmudgeon it just adds to the authenticity of the place. If you’re not eating take your drinks to the outdoor terrace, which is sandwiched between two looming Soho buildings. Or head below to the crypt for darkness, loud metal and atmosphere.
Garlic and Shots? It’s London’s greatest heavy metal restaurant and garlic dive bar of course…
T.A.O reviewed Garlic & Shots on Wed 22 Aug 2012