SIT anywhere,” the waitress says gesturing across the half-full room. “Anywhere?” we say right back at her, eyes darting nervously between that big, fat, comfy-looking six-seater booth up against the back wall and that tiny two-seater leper table right, tight in front of us at the draughty front door.
“Anywhere,” she says again. Honestly? For a moment we’re totally baffled. Put it down to being automatically directed to the worst table in the room at so many restaurants over so many years, put it down to knowing full-fat lunchtime is 30 minutes away and they may need the six seater, put it down to scanning the room, entirely full of women, and noting not one of them took the only booth in the place when presumably told to sit, er, anywhere.
I try again. “Even at the booth?” I ask awkwardly, half expecting a withering reply along the lines of: “Of course not, stupid. There’s only two of you.” But if there’s scorn for the stupidity of the stupid men standing stupidly before her the waitress hides it extremely well. “Yes,” she says pleasantly, before heading off. Fully boothed up, then, menus in hand, drink orders taken – two peppermint teas, please – and vaguely wondering what’s going to happen if six angry women turn up at the door looking for lunch, we scan the room.
White ceramic tiles, the nice ones with the bevelled edges, good lighting, airy windows and gentle chatter in the background. I had been told this is very popular with south side ladies who lunch and even television personalities: football pundit Charlie Nicholas has been spotted here, apparently. Indeed, it was my big pal Kevin McKenna, himself now a top TV personality, who texted me about it. I was meant to come with him, but an emergency intervened. Sort of.
It has a pleasant feel anyway. A young smiley waitress buzzes up to take the lunch order – repeating what she told me
The service and ambience at Ollie’s are exemplary, although those seeking off-piste cuisine should probably look elsewhere