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.
If a covert boozy lunch takes your fancy look no further than The Player in Soho. This basement bar and diner is not only a brilliant hideaway (we walked past the front door twice), but is also home to a hit residency from the team behind mobile taco shack, Breddos Tacos.
Slink off underground and you’re immediately transported into 70's cocktail bar heaven. There’s faux-wood veneer on the walls, plush brown velvet seating and even some neon signage to make the transformation complete. Mind you, the cocktails are anything but retro, and the team behind the bar really know a thing or two about mixing them. Depending on your mood the menu is a mix of punchy short cocktails such as the Whisky Smash, £8, whisky, fresh lemon, mint and sugar and best for a swift lunch, or longer refreshing drinks such as the Añejo Highball, £8.50, rum, orange curacao and fresh lime, topped with ginger beer and a dash of Angostura bitters. Just be wary of the chilli backs. You wont make it back to your desk after one of those.
For some serious snacking, sliders from the Slider Bar are a bit bigger than the mini burgers we’re used to, and come in some amazingly decadent varieties. Firstly, there’s the short rib, £5, an aged beef patty topped with succulent short rib, American cheese, fresh habanero and salsa, and you should probably also tackle the Crunchy Nut, £4, mint crunch fried chicken, chipotle mayo, ketchup, lettuce and tomato. Then there’s the tacos, of which you should invest in the twice roasted cod cheeks, £7, covered in pickled onions and habanero sauce, and the jerk pulled pork, £5, smothered in a sweet apricot hot sauce. There’s also a weekly taco special, which on our visit was a delicious little chorizo number, so keep your eyes peeled! If you can manage a couple of sides, the cheesy fries, £4, are positively drowning in nacho cheese and the chipotle and jalapeño slaw, £2, has a refreshing kick. It’s ice cream for dessert, so grab a scoop of American jelly and peanut butter, and vanilla caramel ripple (£4/2 scoops), to bring lunch to a truly decadent end.
WEAR: elasticated trousers
DRINK: a classic El Diablo, it’s not on the menu but if you ask, they’ll make you one!