Kiwi journo at large. Approachable and for hire for all sorts of writing jobs www.facebook.com/alice.hudson1
Published November 12th 2012
Notorious London alleyway provides best Turkish experience
'Olives and Figs' is a well-priced Turkish restaurant and takeaway hidden down a centuries-old, infamous London alleyway.
Just a short walk from Liverpool Street Station, the restaurant is a rare find in London as it holds a BYO wine licence.
Even more surprising? Your hosts are kind enough to charge no corkage fee.
Prospective diners should keep in mind that Olive and Figs' dining area matches the surrounding alley – very small, yet atmospheric.
If you can nab one of the few tables however, expect well-presented, flavoursome dishes made from the freshest ingredients. If our visit was anything to go by, the tasty food will be coupled with service as attentive as it is friendly. (Ahmed, our waiter, was informative and helpful, yet never overbearing.)
The notoriety of the restaurant's location comes from its association with the 19th century serial killer, Jack the Ripper. On November 9, 1888, the Ripper crudely dissected his final victim, Mary Kelly, just metres from the eastern end of the passage - now the site of a where multi-level car park.
As a key stop on the route taken by London's myriad of Jack the Ripper tours, Artillery Passage sees plenty of foot traffic. Yet whilst we found the family-run restaurant full to capacity - having stumbled across it by accident one Thursday evening - we were glad to find it lacked any tacky, 'touristy' vibe.
Prices were similarly non-touristy, i.e. this restaurant is excellent value for money.
Nothing on the menu at is earth shatteringly different. Expect hot and cold meze, shish kebabs, wraps, olives, humus, meat and fish dishes typical of a Turkish joint. But at £8-10 for a main, the quality of the Olive and Figs experience is hard to beat.
The lamb shish was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. My friend's 'Beyti' was equally approved of. Pity there was no room for dessert - although Ahmed was kind enough to hand out generous helpings of complimentary Turkish Delight.
Olive and Figs provided us an intimate, yet relaxed dining experience for an excellent price, particularly for a tourist area just metres from the heaving bustle of Liverpool Street.
Congratulations Alice on your first article. So much history in that part of London... I wonder how many other restaurants you can eat at with the same claim to dubious fame as being near a Jack the Ripper site. That would make for an interesting read.