olive's Boozy Lunch of the Week: Bedford & Strand

We have joined forces with the lovely people at olive Magazine to bring you a spankin’ new series about the best places to enjoy a boozy lunch in the capital.  The ultimate food porn.  olive is to food what BarChick it to booze so if you’re as in to your sushi as you are your Sweet Manhattans you should probably check out their Facebook page.


Warning: this review contains sherry.

With the kind of food you could eat every day and a smartly edited, well-priced wine list, olive loves a late lunch at this Covent Garden wine bar. Decent charcuterie, British and French cheeses, superior pies, pork belly (and steak for a tenner on Monday nights)  - its gutsy menu never fails to appeal.  But on this occasion we tried some pintxos teamed with sherry, an altogether daintier affair.

Sherry makes us happy, but we know not everyone feels the same, so we’ll go gently here. If you’re a sherry virgin ease yourself in with a crisp Tio Pepe fino served with olives and almonds. Its fresh, salty kick wakes up your palate so it’s a great start to lunch. Now, a nice soft intro to two sherry types you may otherwise never know you like. A nutty Leonor Palo Cortado with wild boar terrine, then a warm, spicy Alfonso Oloroso Seco which comes with a little spoon of steak tartare and a quail’s egg.   Sherry refusnik? Dare you to try Norbury blue cheese with Solera 1847, a dark cream aged sherry - it makes a nice change from stuffy old port and may just convert you.  Final note for those who still think they don’t like sherry: tip a shot of the rich, figgy and velvet-smooth Pedro Ximenez over vanilla ice-cream (or sip the PX on its own). You’ll be hooked.

WHEN CAN I TRY IT? - with a choice of five pintxo and sherry pairings, from £5 to £7 B&S’s sherry festival runs at different times of the year (the next one’s slated for the autumn). Meanwhile there’s always a good selection of sherry behind the bar.

Enough about sherry. What about the cocktails?

Ah yes. The Fine Oceanian Gimlet (£8) is made for summer: fino shaken with Colonel Fox Gin, lime and lemongrass.

GIN, you say?

Yes we do - Bedford & Strand kicks off its Festival of Gin in September.