I wanted a comfy, homey, snuggly vibe, with no sign of pretentiousness and giant portions. Check. Sloppy Sam’s is all those things, delivered with a mediterranean flair and plenty of lamb. Lamb, lamb, wonderful lamb, rolled with garlic on kebab sticks (Jess and Stv), slowly braised into melting goodness (EL), its ribs crisped with garlic and lemon (next time, next time) or in an iraqui abgusht stew with dried limes (yet another visit needed). Defiantly, I had calamari, which were lemony-sour, garlicky and awesome.
Food is simple, large and tasty, with beautiful flavours and the minimum of fuss. For starters, it was various culturally-appropriate things, which were very good: tsatsiki (nice but not outstanding), pickled calamari (not nearly as rubbery as all that but still kind of rubbery), deep fried crispy sardines (I have a deep fried fondness for deep fried sardines, they are wonderful), and a tomato, red onion and anchovy salad that was tasty but a little too simple for the price.
Service was friendly, casual but attentive, very good.
The venue is lovely and belies the name – nothing sloppy about this creatively decorated space. Lots of food paraphernalia (tins, bottles, vegetables, things) strung out all over the place, backed by warm paint tones and an open kitchen. Only complaint: we were seated in the window and the curtain of fairy lights made it hot hot hot. Bonus on window seating: the building across the road has really awesome coloured lights which we spent most of the night figuring out.
Overall: great place, great experience. Yay! Also, chalk up 1 to me for restraint, of alcoholic* kind, and actually driving to salty cracker for a change. Jo: 1, Stv: 37. She edges in. She’s getting there.
Atmosphere: 8 / 10 (target: mediterranean relaxation. Mission: accomplished.)
Staff: 8 / 10 (friendly, relaxed, attentive)
Service: 8 / 10 (see: atmosphere)
Food: 7 / 10 (simple but hits the spot)
Value for money: 9 / 10. (that means good, i.e. cheap :))
*Full disclosure: Drinking copiously at lunch and being unable to face much more alcohol may have had something to do with it.