Taste test: Olive Tree Brasserie launches summer menu

Posted on - 21st July, 2018 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - City Centre, Food & Drink, Opinion, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, What's On in Preston

Olive Tree Brasserie is one of my favourite Preston restaurants, so when I was invited to sample their new summer menu I naturally said Na委.

That鈥檚 not me trying to say No in a fancy way. Olive Tree Brasserie serves modern Greek food, and – according to Google Translate – Na委 is Greek for Yes.

This is how I find myself out on the town on a surprisingly busy Monday night in Preston. The number of people around Fishergate makes sense when the Olive Tree鈥檚 manager explains it鈥檚 graduation week and one of their busiest times of the year. We鈥檙e warned the food may take a little while to come, as dishes are prepared on site and cooked to order.

My companion and I begin our evening with drinks. I make the most of my status as non-designated driver and order a Mastiha Mojito. Priced at 拢7.95, this is a traditional cocktail with a twist. Instead of the usual rum base, it鈥檚 made with the rare and sweet Greek liqueur Mastiha, which comes from the mastic tree in the island of Chios. I can鈥檛 vouch for Mastiha鈥檚 rarity, but I can confirm that it is very sweet and very tasty.

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Starters are the Tiganista (拢5.95) for me and Keftedes (拢6.95) for my companion. The Tiganista is a vegan dish of Greek pancake topped with a flat garlic mushroom, caramelised red onion, and a sweet balsamic dressing.

Olive Tree Brasserie Starters - Tiganista and Keftedes
Tiganista and Keftedes

On first taste I exclaim how delicious it is, however I鈥檓 not normally one for mixing sweet and savoury, and about halfway in I do start to wonder if it鈥檚 working for me. But while my brain might not have caught up with the idea of mushrooms in a sweet sauce, there’s no denying my tastebuds are all over it.

Meanwhile my companion enjoys his (definitely not vegan) Keftedes – beef and pork meatballs in a rich herby tomato sauce.

The portions are generous and I could probably stop eating here. But with a potential two further courses of food this delicious, I instead loosen my belt and tighten my can do attitude.

For my main course I choose Kolokythia Stifado, which is priced at 拢12.95. It鈥檚 a vegan stew of roast butternut squash, mushroom and pistachio, served with Greek style roast potatoes. It鈥檚 hot, tasty, and the textures of the various veg and nuts are divine.

Olive Tree Brasserie Mains - Kolokythia Stifado and Kota
Kolokythia Stifado and Kota

Over at the carnivore鈥檚 side of the table, the Kota dish is being devoured. This is a skewer of chargrilled chicken marinated in paprika, oregano and olive oil. It鈥檚 served with salad, tzatziki and a choice of rice or chips.

My companion has chips and, as I鈥檓 a chip aficionado, I insist on sampling a couple. They鈥檙e a good size and consistency, but there鈥檚 probably too much seasoning on them for my liking. However my companion鈥檚 verdict on his meal is 鈥渞eight tasty鈥, although maybe a tad overpriced at 拢14.95.

By this point I am seriously full, but with a vegan dessert on the menu, I feel it is my duty to forge ahead to the third course.

I loosen my belt further and surreptitiously ease open the top button of my trousers before tucking into the Milopita (拢5.95). It鈥檚 another taste sensation. While it鈥檚 described as an apple pie, there isn鈥檛 much pie going on. It鈥檚 more a mixture of apple, cinnamon, walnuts and sultanas piled on a light pastry base, with another thin layer of pastry resting above. It鈥檚 served with vegan ice cream.

Read more:聽Preston Chinese restaurant fined for health and safety breaches

By this point I鈥檓 full to busting and in need of a lie down, but my companion is enjoying his Americano (拢2.50) from a beautiful earthenware cup and saucer, so I try to act cool and comfortable while enjoying the atmosphere. The decor, lighting and acoustics all appeal to me.

As we finally leave and I waddle out of the restaurant, our sweetly earnest waiter bids us good night.聽He is an example of the sense of pride to be found in everything Olive Tree Brasserie does. They source their fresh produce locally, and apparently invest in innovation by regularly travelling to Greece to source inspiration for their bold flavours.聽The staff are all very attentive, and genuinely care about doing a good job.

Will I be returning to Olive Tree Brasserie? It鈥檚 a little on the pricey side, so it鈥檚 the kind of place I鈥檇 either visit for the Prix Fixe or save for a special occasion鈥 but it鈥檚 a definite Na委 from me.

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