The name says it all…if you don’t like garlic then this isn’t the place for you.
Garlic and Shots is essentially a Swedish goths/bikers’ bar with a restaurant on ground floor level and a sleazy, dark bar downstairs. There is nothing served here that isn’t very liberally doused in garlic, and as you walk in to the joint you’ll immediately understand why every table has as its centerpiece – not a single bloom in a little vase, but a coffin-shaped dish of fresh parsley – it’s reputed that chewing a sprig of fresh parsley goes some way to counteracting the effect eating garlic has one the breath. To combat the garlic contained in the dishes here, though, you’d certainly need more than a sprig!
The food itself is pretty varied – there’s something of everything from traditional steaks to stir-fried noodles and vegetables. The seafood broth is to die for, with huge pieces of squid swimming in a garlicky soup, even the side dishes continue the garlic theme – try the mash, it’s soft, creamy, and melts in the mouth. There are only a few vegetarian dishes though side dishes can be added to increase the selection of meat free choices.
If you can bear to carry on for another course there’s garlic ice cream, but the best way to end a meal here is to go for one of the shooters. Their specialty is the “bloodshot”, a shot of tomato juice, garlic vodka, and celery salt. The garlic vodka is also pretty good drunk neat too. There is a list of almost a hundred shooters which means you either resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to leave very drunk or you’ll be planning your next visit before you’ve even paid the bill.
Fortunately not all the drinks contain garlic so there is some respite and a chance to clean the palate at least a little. There is a full bar with soft and alcoholic drinks and prices are reasonable for a restaurant.
There’s an outside eating area, barely more than a yard, but it’s heated so it’s good for cooler days or those days when London is just too warm for comfort.
Garlic and Shots is not to be missed. The interior alone is worth a visit – movie stills of Bela Lugosi on the walls and plastic bats hanging from the ceiling, this is a vampire fan’s paradise. The staff are generally really friendly, but I know some people have felt a little intimidated by white-faced goths covered in piercings and have felt out of place. My advice is go, have fun and just enjoy the experience.
14 Frith Street Soho
London , W1D 4RD
+44 20 7734 9505
The cost – we paid approximately 70 for four people including drinks.