Tasty bites of the Mediterranean
Olive Grove is a family-run, Mediterranean restaurant tucked away in the South Lanes (just 20 metres from Riddle & Finns). Depending on how long you’ve known Brighton, you may remember it was formerly Yum Yum Ninja and prior to that, Tootsies. The restaurant is vast, with tables up and downstairs and when I visited early on a Monday evening it was very quiet with just one other table of guests dining. As I walked through the fairy-lit courtyard, I could imagine this would be a popular spot when summer arrived.
To get a feel for the breadth of the restaurant’s offering, which draws its inspiration from Portugal, Spain, South of France, Italy and the Eastern coast of Greece, I opted for the Chef’s Tasting Menu which included 8 freshly prepared small plates for just £19.90pp.
Bruschetta Htipiti and Bruschetta Babaganoush, £3.90 each. The sweet soft red peppers worked well in contrast to the dry crumbly texture of the feta cheese.
Kolokithokeftedes, £4.90. A platter of Greek olives, courgette fritas with feta, spinach and smoked cheese. An incredibly delicious plate with crisp, feather-light batter, seasoned lightly.
Pan Fried Mastelo with a Balsamic Glaze, £4.90. The Mastelo cheese is a Greek speciality, similar to Halloumi in texture, but less salty. With the sweet glaze to complement, it was melt in the mouth divine.
Portobello Mushrooms stuffed with Feta, Tomato, Spring Onion, £3.50. I’m not a fan of mushrooms and unfortunately, this dish couldn’t convert me.
Grilled Squid and Mediterranean Salad, Fennel, Tomato, Rocket, Vinaigrette and Lemon Juice, £9.90. Squid is so easily ruined by overcooking, but this was not. One of the best plates on the tasting menu, packed full of complimentary flavours. This lighter provided a refreshing break from the heavier courses that had proceeded it.
Pan fried ‘Fish of the Day’ & Caponata, £11.90. Another excellent plate with Sea Bass as the catch of the day. Served with aubergine, peppers, olives, courgette & pine nuts in a tomato based stew alongside potatoes. The bass skin was crisp but the fillet moist and paired superbly with the softened vegetables.
Garlic and Chilli Prawns with Ciabatta, £5.50. No scrimping here, good meaty king prawns, with a dusting of chilli powder to garnish and the wow-factor in the presentation.
Fillet steak, fried simply in a dash of oil, alongside feta and green chilli. When I think back to this steak, my mouth begins to salivate. Served medium and casually tossed on the plate, it looked a simple dish but delivered, leaving me wanting more.
By this point, there was little room in our stomachs, but still the food kept coming. We were next treated to a platter (not on the tasting menu) of all the desserts on the menu of which I’ll share my loves, of which each would cost around £4.90:
- Salami Chocolate served with Caramelised Banana
- Thick Greek Yoghurt Mousse served with Honey & Nuts
- Pineapple Carpaccio with Lemon Sorbet
RATING: Must Go | Worth a Try | Give it a Miss
Price: £49.60 (including 2 desserts but no drinks)
While I appreciate this is a Mediterranean restaurant, feta features very heavily, especially when ordering from the tasting menu, so this could be dialled down. The service was excellent, with each dish brought out pipping hot and then talked through individually by the waitress. Would I visit again? Yes certainly, it’s very reasonably priced and the food I tasted was cooked well. But I have to caveat this and say I’d need to bring a gaggle of friends or family to bring a bit of life to the place, as on a weeknight it lacked an atmosphere. While restaurants in this spot don’t tend to last long, I hope Olive Grove bucks the trend.
Need to know:
Vegetarian or vegan? There’s a vast selection of tapas that will cater for your diet. And the aioli is vegan, so there’s no need to miss out where that’s concerned.
- Monday to Saturday: 10am – 11pm
- Sunday: 12pm – 10:30pm (serving breakfast from 10am)
Phone: 01273 722325
Address: 15-18 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB
*Disclosure: Olive Grove invited me and a guest to dine and review on a complimentary basis. However, as always, words and opinions are my own.
*Disclaimer: I was invited to review by Olive Grove, but as always, my opinion isn’t swayed by freebies and you are getting my honest opinion on the whole experience.