Eating Abroad New Zealand

Olive, Cuba Street

September 23, 2013

Most Friday nights involve a couple of drinks at work and then a stroll into town in search of a dinner destination that isn’t crap and doesn’t involve a wait of over an hour. I tell you from experience, it is a challenge. This time was no different… my tummy disapproved of the 90min wait times at my first and second choices (Crab Shack and WBC) so we were left to do the oh so familiar aimless stroll towards Courtenay or Cuba. Then Olive was thrown out there as an option…

I’ve never beenĀ that enthusiastic about Olive- probably because I have had more misses than hits there. A couple of years ago my flatmate and I went there for a casual weeknight dinner- we were seated at one of the large tables, sharing with a couple who proceeded to sip wine and groom each other- there was earwax. Then there were the times I popped in for a post-gym brunch- just sad looking eggs on dry ciabatta. The most recent was about a year ago when they had just opened their courtyard grill- it wasn’t quite finished, it was mid-September, and freezing. No one really cares what the food is like when you can’t feel your toes… though, now that I think about it, the food was never bad, it was just the experience.

I’m not one to hold a grudge so I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. The courtyard is complete and rather inviting, and the grill chef was on form (despite just coming off a long plane ride… no jet lag in sight). Everything had a wonderful smokey, charred flavour- we all know it makes meat taste better but do you know the effect it has on spuds? Probably. But broccoli? Equally delicious. I even liked the polenta cake my lamb cutlets sat on top of- it definitely was not the disastrous polenta as seen on MKR. Washed down with a Yalumba ‘The Cigar’, appropriate given we were sitting in front of the fire- felt like many cigars were being smoked around us.

We finished with some simple but pleasant desserts, and a sickly sweet but appealing dessert wine- the name eludes me but the staff are more than happy to make suggestions. My only minor gripe is that this fancy bbq is pricier than you’d expect… at least the potatoes won’t break the bank.

Olive Cafe on Urbanspoon

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