CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> Olive's Wine Bar

Back Buzz - April 18, 2006

pumping heart Olive's Cafe Bar, 95 Queens Road, Leicester, Leicestershire

Although the sign above this place says "Olive's The Lounge...Cafe Bar", it's far easier to just call it Olive's Cafe Bar, or Olive's Wine Bar, which is basically what it is. Although I suppose you could call it a cafe, or just a bar, or even a pub, or a lounge, or a live music venue. Or even a coffeehouse. Or somewhere to go have a drink and a bite, or just a place to go out at night.

Whatever you want to call it, Olive's is located on a corner just off Clarendon Park near Leicester University. The reason Andrew and I discovered it on a recent weekend was because we'd driven down to Leicester to visit Calder who was working there. It seems like a friendly, comfortable place where one can have a nice lunch or a leisurely drink. On our first visit we'd just come off the motorway and were relieved to be parked and on holiday, so we sat at a comfy table sipping gin and tonics and enjoying the ambiance. Later we stopped in for lunch because we'd been told that Olive's food is very good, and I can honestly say our feta, pesto, olive and tomato sandwiches on fresh hot baguettes were absolutely perfect. The pizzas look nice and thin and crispy, and so many huge plates of burgers and chips passed by that I assume they must be quite popular here.

Taking a brief brisk walk around the neighbourhood I discovered the cafe is located in a very food-rich street, with Indian, Chinese, kebab and pizza takeaways, a tapas bar, a Mediterranean deli, a Continental bar, and a few other options. No wonder it's so popular with students.

It also seems popular with the Leicester locals who enjoy food, drink, and culture. While we dined we chatted with a friend of Calder's who plays fine classical guitar. Although we always enjoy seeing Paul. I think he was a bit embarrassed when he managed to knock over his beer, steering the entire pint directly into Andrew's crotch. Ah, well, no worries -- at least it wasn't a litre of house red. Or a bucket of treacle.

I suppose you wonder why I'm writing about a bar for my coffee column. That's because Olive's is one of those multipurpose venues which also serves as a fine weekend breakfast haunt. On Sunday morning, while killing some time before an afternoon of jazz, we stopped to have an espresso. I must admit it wasn't exactly a spectacular espresso, but it was certainly pure and basic, and obviously the machine is well cared for which is important. Perhaps a cappuccino or a latte, perfectly acceptable with a big breakfast, would be a better option here.

On a completely unrelated subject, here's an e-mail exchange from last year with my Bay Area friend:

In the Saturday Times magazine there is an article on Offlish, the new language of work. Rather than send you the entire A-Z lexicon I'll just put together a paragraph using most of the usage samples. If you find a comfortable seat sit quietly, breath deeply a few times, and then chant the following words, it's so can see the pointed goatee and raised eyebrow of Larry, our mutual boss (back when we worked together in aerospace) materialising in front of you...

"We need to look at everything from beginning to end, the whole shooting match, and get our ducks in a row. This is an A-Z scenario, guys. We need to bake this into the numbers, otherwise we're in danger of having to reinvent the wheel. It's time to deliver, guys. It's cocks on the block time. I could really do with some face time on this. On a going forward be fair it wasn't hammer and tongs. There was a bit of a to-do, but it was just handbags really. But this isn't a debate. It's a JFDI! situation. We need to land this baby PDQ. Let's get down to brass tacks here. Has it got legs? One minute he was top dog and the next the head honchos decide he gets the order of the boot. We aren't progressing this. We need 100 percent buy-in and at this juncture we aren't bringing everyone with us. Why don't we park it but leave the motor running? When all is said and done, we've had a bumpy ride recently and there is still a shortfall in the numbers. The quid pro quo is that we now have a handle on the problem. We need to get into gear and redouble our efforts on this one. We need to ramp it up. To be honest, implementation was sub-optimal and resulted in unexpected losses, but in the circumstances was a decent result. This had better wash its face. We need to get our shoulders to the wheel and go tits out on this one."

And the final mantra to bring him into full view:

"...We have to be seen to be setting the pace, guys. I need you to pull out all the stops, throw the kitchen sink at it and go the extra mile on this one." That's amazing. Aside from a few distinctively British expressions, I can hear all of those expressions coming from Larry's mouth. I guess management non-speak is universal. I'd like to hear "going tits out" find wide usage among American executives. I wonder if we could get George W's speechwriter to work that one in (or perhaps just hack into his teleprompter). In reference to his recent "corporate business trip" to London, Andrew said the corporate pizza was good, obviously because they were taken to Pizza Express, which is a nice pizza restaurant chain which I've always liked because they have individual very thin-crust pizzas with toppings like goat cheese and pesto and Cajun crawfish, and really nice salads and a great selection of wines.

Nevertheless I couldn't help thinking all day about what a Corporate Pizza would be. I suppose it could feature a network of slices of Peking ducks in a row, whole ball-of-wax chilis, grilled letsletsletslog onions, black olives with their tits out, all surrounded by a time frame of basil pesto with an extra mile of parmesan cheese. And, of course, after the pizza is baked it's put on the back burner and then served on a full plate.