On paper, it doesn’t sound like much to write home about: a dingy basement bar promising a kitchen full of garlic and 101 shots, many of which are also flavoured with the Mediterranean’s favourite flavour enhancer. But those who underestimate Bröderna Olssons Garlic & Shots are missing a trick (or three tricks, as you can now rid yourself of unwanted vampire-related attention in Stockholm, Palma or London).
Hidden amongst the various trendy offerings of Soho’s Frith Street, the London branch of this Swedish Gothic bar is a breath of garlic-scented air. In the restaurant upstairs, you can order anything from Transylvania Vampire Steak with bloody red green pepper garlic sauce to wasabi garlic asparagus; anything with a hefty serving of garlic, that is.
As you can probably guess, it’s not the ideal location for a first date – not even the banana congo coffee brownie escapes the garlic treatment – but if you have an uptight new colleague, there’s no better place to take them to unwind. They might show concern as you descend into the basement abyss, decorated with fake tarantulas, spider webs and skulls glowing ominously in the shadows, but as soon as they’ve downed their first Bloodshot (a spiced concoction of tomato, garlic and chilli) they’ll never look back.
Don’t be put off if garlic isn’t your proverbial cup of tea, although the Garlic Honey Vodka and Garlic Martini Shooters need to be tried to be believed. There’s a whole host of imaginatively titled shots waiting to be sampled (Pierre Punchdrunk, Gypsy Kings Instant Sangria and Bellman’s Leg Opener are some of my favourites). Even the staff seem genuinely excited by the drinks, or maybe it’s just the prospect of watching your face as you taste your first shot. Either way, it’s only a matter of time before you get bitten.Garlic & Shots
14, Frith Street