My friends love to eat. All of them. Food is so important. It nourishes us, it gives us something to do with our hands, something to discuss, something to remember. Food tickles every sense: it’s tactile, aromatic, flavourful, colourful, and if you order the right dish, it might even snap, crackle or pop. The sizzle of bibimbop, the jewel tones of veggie thali, the aroma of hot garlic curling from a plate of spaghettini aglio e olio. Sharing a meal is a pleasure I’d deny no one, and sharing a meal with a friend you’ve not seen for months and months and months has to be one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.
(This may be a good place to note that this post is not vegan.)
So, the blog has been quiet for the last fortnight. I expected to do a lot of eating (which I did) and a lot of drinking (ditto) and a lot of blogging (…) whilst my pal B was in town, but actually there was simply no time for blogging between all the eating, drinking and reminiscing. I’ve eaten some cracking dishes though so no regrets.
Anyway my pal and I are both obsessed with garlic, so Garlic & Shots in Soho seemed to be a logical place for an early evening dinner on a week night. We sat outside in the courtyard garden and surveyed the all-garlic menu: deep fried garlic potato skins, whole baked garlic bulbs, garlic pops, garlic salad … literally every dish contains a hearty helping of garlic.
Right off the bat though, it became apparent that we seriously misordered. We thought we were in the mood for some serious grease, so we went for the garlic cream cheese and jalapeño balls with a portion of garlic pops – battered cloves of garlic – to start with. The garlic pops were … a bit weird, to be perfectly honest. Hard, crunchy and quite bland, with a shock of hot oil and not much else to taste. They needed a dipping sauce and less time in the fryer.
The garlic cream cheese and jalapeño balls were great though: a golden, crispy shell with an ooey gooey centre spiked with a little sweet heat from the jalapeños.
There wasn’t a swathe of veggie options for the main course, and so I rolled with the veggie burger of the day. It was a curried fritta the size of a hub cap, served with garlic fries, snakebite salsa, aioli and a pinkie sauce of indeterminate content. My main beef with this dish was the sheer size of it – my pal had a chicken quesadilla, served on a dainty plate. My burger came on a thali plate, and the portion size was almost embarrassing. I mean, I know one doesn’t order a burger when one wants to muck about with dainty cutlery and doilies, but come on, Garlic & Shots! Stick it on a less flamboyant platter. Or just go all out and stick it in a trough.
Next time (and there will be a next time, despite the criticism, because who the fuck am I, eh?) I’ll definitely try something lighter – a garlic salad, or the marinated feta – and one of the garlic-infused deserts. Oh, and one of the awesome looking shots…!
Garlic & Shots | 14 Frith Street, Soho.
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