Since November The Olive Tree Brasserie has taken TripAdvisor by storm. With high expectations and an empty stomach, I visited one Thursday evening.Advertisement
Located in the Miller Arcade, Preston city centre’s first Greek restaurant thankfully doesn’t fall prey to cliché emulsion white ruins and check tablecloths. The interior is in fact rather industrial, with exposed metal strip lighting, sharp corners and a polished finish. The contrast between the contemporary interior and the Victorian exterior really helps create a sophisticated, inviting atmosphere.
Upon arrival my party and I were greeted warmly and shown to our table through a surprisingly busy dining room. Once seated, being partially bathed in the green neon of the adjacent Subway was slightly perturbing; you may want to be savvy and select your preferred table in advance.
Never one to resist a bargain, I ordered from the Early Diner Menu, with three courses available for just £13.50. Although very restricting, it’s only to be expected from such a sharp price, being available until a reasonable 7:00pm (6:45 on Friday and Saturday).
Some olives and related nibbles were promptly ordered and arrived very quickly; the young floor staff continued to work efficiently throughout the evening. Despite not being open long, service at The Olive Tree seems to be very well organised.
For starters, everyone choose the Dolmades which arrived on miniature pallets for reasons that I couldn’t fathom. However, these three rolled vine leaves stuffed with rice and minced beef were the perfect sized starter. They were fresh, delicious but very salty, while the supplementary lemon-dill-cream sauce was light and perfectly balanced.
Incidentally, their own brand mint-balsamic dressing, has an incredible depth of flavour, and should be applied liberally on everything. An average Sauvignon Blanc washed this down; yes it had a decent smack of Gooseberry, but my tongue shrivelled in fear of its acidic tartness.
In regard to the mains the Lavraki sounded intriguing. Not a spiritual practice conducting on the toilet, but Sea Bass Spetse style, which is a style not even the Internet has heard of. It arrived looking like it had been in a violent altercation on the way from the grill to the table.
The fish itself was perfectly cooked, although the crust was again very salty but flavoursome.
The accompanying Kolokithakia (courgette fritters) were the best thing on the plate. They make for an exciting Mediterranean alternative to chips, and at least in my head seem healthier.
The exciting Mediterranean alternative to mushy peas were in theory the stewed capers, but the last thing salty fish and fried vegetables needs is the world’s saltiest food stuff, which for me were unpalatably bitter.
This time the wine was swapped to a Pinot Grigio, looking past the warm glass, the humble house white had a mineral crispness and was perfectly drinkable.
Friends had the Fishcake with season chips, which was a big disappointment. Arriving on what looked like a spare cheese board, it was impossible to cut the fishcake without scattering the side salad on the table. Inspired by the falling salad, the overflowing mug of frozen chips teetered precariously. The overall flavour of the fishcake was that of potato, and was surprisingly void of seasoning.
Meanwhile, the Kota Skordata is a chicken skewer on a bed of rice with a dip and small side salad. The meat was tasty, but it is never going to give a glowing account of itself. No complaints at all, but it’s punching above it’s £13.95 full retail price tag.
The desserts (at least on the bargain basement menu) are just an afterthought unfortunately. The Greek Yoghurt is generously proportioned, but the Berry Compote option is so sour only a few mouthfuls could be managed. In contrast the honey option was so sickly sweet it was more of a challenge than a dessert.
Overall, the ambience and service were first class. For me, the menu lacked a balance of flavour, but for the amount of money paid it’s difficult to have any grievances.
Don’t just take our word for it, see what everyone is saying on Trip Advisor. The Olive Tree currently has four and a half out of five stars.
Our food reviewers pay for themselves and aren’t invited by the venue, if we are we will always say in the review.
Have you been to Olive Tree Brasserie? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below