First Round: Garlic (makes) bread

And First Round’s particular favourite this month was undoubtedly Mad for Garlic, a Korean restaurant chain recently acquired for $48 million by an investor group led by Standard Chartered Private Equity.

Describing itself as “an Italian wine bistro of Korean origin” (that old chestnut), Mad for Garlic is a 29-strong chain that, as the most intellectually acute among you may already have guessed, “emphasises the use of garlic as the main ingredient in its cuisine”.

Being rather a fan of the ‘stinking rose’, First Round promptly clicked through to the Mad for Garlic website to see what culinary delights awaited its fortunate diners.

Amongst the plethora of options, particular highlights include the Dracula Killer (‘soft bread served with garlic cooked in olive oil and anchovies’), the Garlic Snowing Pizza (a ‘special sweet garlic pizza topped with shrimp and pineapple dice’), Garlicholic Rice (‘special fried rice with garlic pickles, shrimp and anchovies’) and the Garlic Steak (rib-eye ‘topped with assorted garlic’). It’s enough to bring Edward Cullen out in a rash.

There’s only one catch, though. Looking at this extensive menu, not to mention the impressive wine list and stylish interior decor, Mad for Garlic might appear to be the perfect date venue for the discerning Korean/ Singaporean/ Philippino/ Indonesian. But imagine what you’d smell like after working your way through that lot… For the likes of First Round, whose conversion rate of first to second dates is already in the low single digit percentages, that might turn out to be a deal-breaker.