words: Siobhan Rae
This should have been a review about Ciao Bella; a tried and tested Italian on the ever-so-slightly-smug Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury (‘People’s Supermarket’, anyone?). Hearty pizza, pasta and wine for two, usually for under £40. What’s not to love?!
Being sat alfresco next to an unrelenting car alarm, THAT’S WHAT.
Olives abandoned, apologies made, and we’re off to SHRIMPY’S instead. Minutes up York Way, where all the shit kebab shops reside, Shrimpy’s removes itself from its surroundings with sheets of glowing fibreglass and neon lights. It looks fucking cool, both inside and out… a scene just BEGGING to be Instagrammed (I resisted). Its glowing outer-shell is quite the statement when you step inside to what looks like a beautifully designed, artfully lit…. caravan.
Seated at the bar, we marvelled at the menu’s branding and slick pop-up construction in a way that only two young media professionals could (kill me). Our waiter, who was charmingly rubbish from start to finish, flounces over and takes our order on an iPad, naturally. Smiling sweetly through ironic ‘tache and glasses, he asks us to repeat ourselves THREE TIMES before shrugging nonchalantly and spinning on his heels (Soft-shell crab burgers with avocado and chilli, a bottle of Spanish white, and a beer and margarita for ‘starters’, in case you were wondering.)Soft-shell crab burgers with avocado and chilli, a bottle of Spanish white, and a beer and margarita for ‘starters’, in case you were wondering. Soft-shell crab burgers with avocado and chilli, a bottle of Spanish white, and a beer and margarita for ‘starters’, in case you were wondering).
Less than ten minutes later, Rubbish Waiter (who is reminded subtly by a much better waiter that we don’t have any cutlery) returns bringing our food at the same time as our aperitifs much to the boyf’s disapproval.
“You can’t have BEER with CRAB?!?!” he whispers. He might have a point, but I can’t be sure…
“Can we get our wine at the same time please?” Rubbish Waiter looks baffled, Good Waiter rolls eyes at Rubbish Waiter and produces wine immediately, and I get flustered at the sheer amount of food and booze that is suddenly before us.
Crap waiter aside, the crab burgers are TOP DRAWER. Generous chunks of meat lightly battered and piled on top of slabs of mushy avocado and chilli (a crucial component). Our chosen sides are just as good; the skinny fries faultlessly crisp and salty, and the potato latkas delicious (until they got cold, at which point they transformed in to rank scotch-pancake type monstrosities.) After devouring the lot with great aplomb, we agree we probably could have selected more varied sides and two differing mains for the sake of variation, but we’ll be back for that.
With nearly an entire bottle of wine left to finish post-food, the only criticism is the speed with which everything arrived – probably down to the military efficiency of the kitchen we could see operating behind the bar.
Wine finished, I turn to my boyfriend and discover he’s been drinking since lunchtime, which suddenly explains why he’s attempting slurred conversation on what role a CEO should play in a business. I decide it’s time for us to leave. We thank Rubbish Waiter who beams proudly as he once again turns on his heels, and smashes our empty wine glasses on the floor.
Shrimpy’s can be found at The King’s Cross filling station, Goods Way, N1C 4UR
(We apologise for the lack of pics in this post. Poor Siobhan is trying to beat her taking-pics-of-food-on-Instagram addiction which we support wholeheartedly.)