Garlic's of London
We were on our way through London and Garlic's (along with Tasting Room) was one of the most recommended places - we just had to check it out on this Saturday afternoon.
The restaurant is not very noticeable from the outside - it has a narrow storefront and huge windows which might make it stand out more in the evening. The quirky writing had a decorative, illustrative feel which can be a bit hard to read for those not knowing what to look for. Inside, our attention was captured by the ever-present yellow brick clad the walls with bold abstract, splash-like art - the same style on all walls. We thought it was a bit repetitive but we liked the funky mood it set. Garlic is a bit small, but cozy. Warm colours added to that comfy feeling.
NOSE & SWIRL
We noticed some branded products on display by the bar, namely garlic honey. A novel idea, presentation could be better though. The selection was simply laid out on the tray in no hope of attracting significant attention from the patrons, almost seemed like a last minute thought. To get ourselves going, we asked for a glass of Viogner ConoSur and a Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay. Unlike food, wine had no added garlic to it. We ordered Pan Seared Salmon Salad with a 5oz Atlantic salmon filets on organic quinoa as well as a Garlic Cuban Sandwich with shaved pork.
After our fresh bread arrived, it took only another fifteen minutes to get the rest of the food. Salmon came nicely garnished with shepherds feta, dried cranberries, and toasted pine nuts in truffle oil with some local greens. It looked marvellous and only had a hint of garlic to it. Music was changing to something a bit faster paced as we dug into our dish. The salad was flavourful while the filet was simple (asking it for medium cooked was a good idea). A generous chunk of fish had light garlic with quinoa adding substance and feta for a kick. Our Garlic Cuban sandwich was not too large. It had marinated and shaved pork loin with Genoa and Soppressata style local salami, aged cheddar, dill pickles and light Dijon mustard all in between a panini pressed crusty bread. Dijon and the large pickle slice on the side made a salty difference here. The sandwich was a better deal for the money and more of a original dish, in our opinion. We did not feel too much garlic in it. We also had garlic fries in a small container on the side, which came generously covered with a cloud of thinly shredded parm and topped with chives. There was also some fried garlic pieces with the fries - yum. Once again, surprisingly not over the top garlic.
One more exciting dish we got to try was House Churned Roasted Garlic Ice Cream. We got a sampler portion which was a great idea to allow patrons to try something exotic without committing to a full portion. The ice cream was awesome - quite refreshing and almost like wild garlic herb in taste. There were even pieces of roasted garlic inside. It sounds like an odd dish, but mint in ice-cream is not too radical, so why is garlic?
Our expectations were quite high and we cannot say we were blown away. While falling somewhat short of great, our time at Garlic was a very good experience. Friendly service, reasonable prices and excellent food were all present. Furthermore, the setting was enjoyable and garlic theme came in as an added bonus.
PS: Leaving, we noticed that the entrance corridor was finished in stucco-like style and Tuscan orange colour. We found it to be somewhat off the main theme. Also, instead of abstract paintings on the walls, how about a bit more garlic theme inside? This could be fun if done tastefully.