Olives, slugs and lettuces.

Out with Sarah B from work the other day for a quick drink we ended up in the recently refurbished Slug and Lettuce on Artillery Row. I don’t normally visit Slug and Lettuces, they’re often all hard surfaces and chunky fight-proof furniture that makes it difficult to hear yourself speak over the cacophony of screeching from a table of girls getting loud on cheap white wine. What my Friend Nora calls ‘Bitch Fuel’.

The new one on Artillery Row however is a little more loungey, with sofas and carpets, plus it was near work, so we went in. We had some drinks, and the Wednesday Wine offer is any bottle on the menu for the cost of the house, £11.75, so that was good. Then we decided to get some snacks… not so good. Onion rings (four of ’em), chicken and chorizo skewers (ok), and a bowl of olives. Just look at that pudding bowl of boring briny olives, it was like chewing the caps you put on car tires. I dread to think what they’d been marinated in, dish water bprobably.

Bad Olives

ABOVE: A bowl of ‘Marinated Mediterreanean Olives’ from Slug and Lettice (£2.45)

Good Olives

ABOVE: A plate of what I’d consider ‘marinated Mediterreanean Olives’ to look like – taken at a friend’s house.

Olives aren’t that hard to get right surely? Bars can make a killing on snacks, nibbles and finger food, after all, much of it doesn’t need cooking so front of house staff can portion it, nuts for example. But only if they do it right. It’s got to be good interesting ingredients and dishes, shareable, and able to be eaten with fingers or with just a folk.

The Govenment’s change in the licencing laws was to introduce a more ‘continental’ style approach to socialising, where food is consumed alongside drink. When it comes to what most menus described as ‘light bites’, I usually get the ‘brown food fear’. You know, where everything in either in breadcrumbs, batter or brown to begin with, and it’s all deep fried, like this still from a Iceland ad.

The Spanish have tapas, the Middle East has meze, Japan has sushi, other cultures have a tradition of street food and such, we have deep fried potato products, nuts and crisps or stupid mini-versions of main meals. And don’t think this is a class thing, posh rediculous canapes are just as bad.  What do you want to nibble on when drinking?

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2 Responses to “Olives, slugs and lettuces.”


  1. 1 RIchard DH November 8, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Pork pie and Colman’s.


  1. 1 Olives, slugs and lettuces. « Tom Steel Trackback on October 29, 2007 at 4:50 pm

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