Review – Olive Grove
Olive Grove is the latest restaurant to inhabit the vast courtyard complex next to Riddle and Finns in The Lanes. The location previously housed the short lived but much loved Yum Yum Ninja. Not to be confused with the popular American chain, Olive Grove is a new eatery that boasts a warm welcome and a family friendly atmosphere.
The restaurant has been transformed since its previous owners and now looks like a traditional Mediterranean tavern; with plenty of tables outside for al fresco dining and the inside is perfect for large parties and families.
The cuisine is loosely called Mediterranean but we found the menu mainly Greek inspired. Split between mains and tapas there was plenty to choose from. The owner Alexander treated us to tour their menu sampling dishes from both the mains and tapas.
To start we had a trio of dips served with fresh pitta (£9.90). The dips were a trio of taramasalata, humus and a fresh red pepper salsa. The bread was very fresh and you could tell it was straight from the oven. The dips all packed quite a punch, we especially liked their taramasalata.
We next had the Olive Grove Olives (£3.90) and home made spanakopita (£5.90). The olives, which are deep fried and stuffed with Italian nduja sausage and goat’s cheese, are served with a garlicky aioli. Each crispy mouthful was packed full of flavour and these were very moreish. The delicious homemade spanakopita were crispy and well seasoned, each bite containing lots of the spinach and feta.
Our first mini-main of the evening consisted of a skewer of the souvlaki (£5.90), which had big chunks of chorizo, chicken, beef and an assortment of seasonal vegetables. This was served with a side of chips with oregano and feta (£3.90) (Greek cheesy chips?) and a village salad (£3.90). This was like a traditional Greek salad only with a bigger assortment of veg such as fresh green peppers.
The flame grilled kebab was tender and smokey, something thats hard to emulate in home cooking. The sides were nice especially the chips, the addition of a spritz of lemon really helped. The salad in my opinion could have been slightly more refined as the big chunks of raw onion did overpower the other flavours somewhat.
Next we had the pollo alla diavola (£9.90), a flame grilled, boneless chicken leg served with a spicy sauce, crispy roast potatoes and spring onions. This was one of the best dishes of the evening, the cooking of the leg over flame gave it a unique smokey flavour and the spicy tomato based sauce was a great accompaniment that helped lift the flavours.
Another meat dish followed in the guise of a hefty Keftidakia meatball served with mashed potato and tomato sauce (£8.90). Again the cooking here was flawless, especially the meatball that was so tender it just fell apart.
Finally our last main was a generous offering of pork belly and deep fried polenta (£9.90). At this point we were quite full but we definitely had room for this! The polenta was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle with a light buttery taste, this was a fantastic carrier for the rich, meaty, slow cooked belly pork. Finished with a sprinkling of crackling this was a standout dish!
For dessert we got to sample a selection from their menu; a thick Greek yoghurt mousse served with honey and nuts, a doughnut with preserved fruit and a slice of “chocolate salami” (all £4.90).
The mousse was amazing and apparently conceived by accident and what an accident! The Greek yogurt gave it a slightly sour note and the chopped nuts and honey elevated it to a more exciting texture.
On the whole we had a fantastic time at Olive Grove, the owners have conceived exactly what they set out to do – a restaurant with a warm Mediterranean atmosphere and a menu full of family favourites and authentic dishes. It’s slightly more expensive than other Greek restaurants in Brighton but I would definitely say it’s worth it, as the cooking and the dishes produced are of such great quality.
Olive Grove, 15-18 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB
Rob’s meal was complimentary, courtesy of Olive Grove.