Firstly, we were able to take the children with, a no no at the aforementioned fine dining establishment. Secondly, the children had a cute play area set up for them with ample DVD’s to select from (any child’s dream). Thirdly, there was no huffing and puffing when making the booking that the table would only be kept for a set time.
Now the fine dining establishment, which did not allow children, actually seated a number of patrons with children and we were treated to numerous children caterwauling during our meal there. At Olive & Oil on the other hand, the children went to watch their movie, came and ate their meal and returned to their play area.
Enough about the kids though...
On arrival we were taken straight to our table and asked for our drinks order whilst we perused the menu. We had asked when booking whether they served Margaritas and were told that they did and that it was in fact National Margarita Day. Needless to say we asked for a couple of Margaritas, which were served straight up in deliciously chilled salt rimmed glasses. The manager dropped by our table later in the evening to enquire if everything was to our liking and, being the one who had taken our booking she remembered that we had asked about Margaritas, she asked if we would like to try a Gold Brick Margarita (made with Cuervo Gold Tequila). Being happily lulled by our first drink and the delicious food we assented in a flash.
The décor is understated and elegant. Tables are covered in crisp white table cloths and each place seating has a beautiful linen place mat. A small bowl of olives is set on the table for some pre-dinner nibbling and our water glasses were immediately filled from a jug of ice cold water flavoured with a few slices of lemon and sprigs of mint.
Finally onto the food… The Olive & Oil menu is exciting with many appealing sounding dishes. The combinations are unusual, interesting and very tempting.We opted for the Mediterranean Mezze with Focaccia for the table. Mezze we selected was Parma ham, feta, marinated olives, roasted peppers, Cajun fillet strips, chorizo and hummus. Every component was delicious but the Cajun fillet strips were definitely the highlight. Being a chorizo junkie, I would have appreciated a little more of this tasty spicy sausage. Nevertheless we enjoyed every bite which was scrumptiously paired with the flaky fragrant warm Focaccia.
For my main course I ordered one of the evening’s specials, Dorado with Gamberi con pana sauce topped with 5 king prawns. As I am not familiar with Gamberi sauce I asked what it consisted off. Olive & Oil make theirs with prawn stock, chilli and Prego sauce. On returning home I did some research, thank you Google, and found out that this is an Italian sauce generally made with shrimp, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, white wine, parsley and cream. The fish was served with baked butternut and creamed spinach. The fish was succulent, the prawns plump, the sauce tantalising and vegetables absolutely delicious.
One of my fellow diners also ordered a special, which was Fillet on a bed of green beans with a Madagascar green & black peppercorn cognac sauce. This was also served with the baked butternut and creamed spinach. The steak was tender and prepared to perfection, medium rare just as ordered.
Last main course ordered was the Dijon, Avocado and Feta Sirloin which was served with a mushroom sauce and chips. My companion had absolutely nothing but praise for her sirloin which was tender and juicy. The combination of the mushroom sauce, avocado and creamy feta was dreamily yummy.
From the children’s menu we ordered chicken nuggets, chips and sweet sticky sauce for the two kids, aged 7 and 4. As I was obviously on a roll I asked about the sticky sauce, this is made by mixing together barbecue sauce, chutney, tomato sauce, honey and monkey gland sauce. They tucked into their food with gusto and actually finished every bit of it, surprising their parents. Maybe the fact that they were told that they would get an ice cream cone if they finished their food played a part, but I doubt it as they can be picky eaters and definitely wouldn’t eat anything they were not enjoying.
I was delighted to see that the ice cream was served in a sugar cones rather than the less tasty and generally cheaper wafer cones. Needless to say the children devoured their ice creams before heading back to their movie.
Having enjoyed the meal thus far we could not resist delving into Olive & Oils dessert menu and we were served complimentary Strawberry Daiquiris whilst we perused the menu. These sweet, smooth cocktails struck exactly the right cord after the tang of the Margaritas and flavours from our meals still humming in our mouths. They were actually quite a delightful palate cleanser for us.
As always being a sucker for Crème Brûlée, I could not resist when I saw it on the menu. I was not disappointed. The hard caramel topping had exactly the right amount of resistance and cracked perfectly to allow me access to the creamy sweet custard underneath. One of the best crème brûlées I have eaten.
One companion ordered the warm Italian chocolate slice served with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream and she was in heaven from the time she saw it till the very last bite. The cake was moist, warm and not too sweet which contrasted perfectly wit& h the rich and creamy chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The other diner ordered Tiramisu and he was very complimentary of his dessert. He looked as if he would inhale the tiramisu if he could. Afterwards he said he was sorry it was so small because he could have had more, but realised it was actually the perfect size because of its richness.
I was delighted that everyone enjoyed their meal so much and that the dining experience was savoured by all. The quality of the food at Olive & Oil was excellent and the prices reasonable. Whilst this restaurant chain is not listed as a fine dining establishment, it most definitely was a FINE DINING experience for us. The meal was a total delight from beginning to end and the service we received was impeccable.