A pre-theatre dining experience; fish chips and peas at Olympus Bolton before the pair of us trot over to the Octagon for the Shakespeare production of 12th Night. Six o' clock on a Friday evening, we’re greeted at the door by one of the lovely waiters, he says hello, tells us we can sit anywhere we like and as he does so he waves his outstretched arm, gently pointing to all areas of the restaurant. We find a table right at the back, in a quiet corner, I pass a man eating a jacket potato; right at the back of us, a table of elderly woman park up and as one of them is standing peeling off her coat, she asks if the rest of her chums have seen the Great British Sewing Bee.
Not our first visit to Olympus, we’re familiar with the routine; a simple, friendly system of ordering ensues; waiter hands menu over (then discreetly buggers off); choose your meal, order and pay at the counter then meal is delivered. No nonsense proven system, no one waiting around for food and probably one of the many reasons why this place is either packed or generally ticking over, whatever time of day you visit.
The baked potato eating man leaves his table and starts on the piano. The gentle plink plonk is non intrusive and really creates a fabulous atmosphere –to me anyway. I detest hearing commercial radio stations whilst I am dining; this is great. I am happy. We’re starving so we order fish chips and peas twice (Danny goes for the larger sized meal), two slices of bread and butter, a portion of gravy and an extra portion of chips. Two coffees, one with milk, the other with cream. When it all arrives, we immediately feel over faced but we crash on. The pianist strikes up “I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I do”. He hits a couple of bum notes.
Next is Elton John; “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" although we both agree the Olympus Pianist does some twiddly bits on the bass keys that Elton John doesn’t know. We argue over the next song, Danny says it’s “The Girl from Ipenema”, I think it’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose”. I am right of course and Danny serenades me in a voice which is in the style of Stuart Staples. We wonder if he does requests (the pianist) and Danny wonders aloud whether he knows any Belle and Sebastian. I plonk some chips and peas on a butty and take a massive bite, I am in heaven, just as the chorus from "Twenty Four hours From Tulsa" looms over. A few tragic ballads later, "You’ve lost That Loving Feeling" and “You Don’t Buy Me Flowers Any More” and we’re full to bursting point. We can’t manage the extra chips.
The final number as we’re starting to leave is “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” If music be the food of love indeed……(food is fabulous by the way)