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Village Food & Drink

Tapas night is tasty treat

Posted on October 19 2010 at 5:31:58 0 comments

Tapas at the Green Olive

Sally Oldaker enjoys a taste of the Mediterranean in the middle of Barnt Green. . .

Tapas is a culinary concept that’s been growing in popularity on these shores of late, and the idea of sampling several different dishes at once and sharing them with friends is certainly a favourite of mine – so I was more than happy to visit the Green Olive and test out their tapas.

The Barnt Green venue, which occupies the former Cafe/Deli on the Green premises, operates in a similar fashion to its predecessor, with the restaurant in one half and the deli counter in the other, but the new owners are keen to introduce new ideas; the weekly Tapas Night being one of them.

It’s already proving popular, with diners needing to book well in advance to ensure a place in the cosy 25-seater restaurant, which was full to capacity on this Friday evening. We were instantly impressed by the decor, which involves soft coloured lighting and Mediterranean-inspired wall art, and the menu promised to deliver the goods too.

We chose a bowl of mixed olives as an appetiser to go with our drinks (a bottle of Corona for me, an organic ginger fizz for Lisa) and tucked into these as we tried to decide what to order. This proved to be a great start to the night, as the olives in their tasty marinade were really excellent. I usually prefer the black variety, but the green ones were among the best we’ve tasted – as you’d expect from a restaurant bearing their name!

From a fairly comprehensive list of tapas, diners can each choose three dishes for £10, with any additional dishes charged at £4.50. It was difficult to narrow it down as they all sounded so good, with the options including tortilla espanola, lamb koftas, nachos and Spanish rice. The specials board also offered three more dishes.

Eventually we settled on our six: hummus, tzatziki (both homemade and served with pitta bread), pimentos con queso, patatas bravas, Mexican meatballs and chicken and chorizo skewers.
We weren’t sure how big each dish would be, although from the platter of food on the next door table, everything looked quite substantial.

Our first plate arrived with the pimentos, hummus and tzatziki served in little dishes, plus four pieces of pitta bread – all very attractive. The pimentos were a huge hit with both of us: five beautifully sweet baby red peppers stuffed with creamy feta cheese. The hummus, created by chef Amy, had a rougher texture than the shop-bought variety and you could really taste the individual ingredients, while Lisa reported that the tzatziki was very refreshing with plenty of crunchy chunks of cucumber.

We were then served a large dish bearing the chicken and chorizo skewers (with a salad garnish) and the patatas bravas, and another with the meatballs. It’s worth pointing out that the meat tapas come in particularly large portions, so diners are definitely getting value for money.

The generous helping of patatas bravas (fried potatoes topped with chilli tomato sauce) was delicious, and the sauce was also ideal for dunking pieces from the three giant skewers. These comprised big chunks of succulent chicken and slices of chorizo with just the right amount of spiciness.

The meatballs were immense, and again benefited from a rougher, more rustic feel than the processed meat of shop-bought ones – these were served with a little dish of extremely tasty salsa.

Sadly, Lisa didn’t have room to squeeze in a pudding – she would have gone for the homemade apple crumble from the specials board – but I was delighted to see that Amy had also created a dairy-free option of elderflower jelly! Of course, I didn’t hesitate to order it, and it proved to be the perfect conclusion to the meal – the clear jelly, served with a handful of red grapes, was light and refreshing after the spicy tapas.

We both really enjoyed our meal, and would be more than happy to return and sample some of the other tapas on the menu; the Green Olive has a deserved success on its hands.

NEW FOR NOVEMBER: After the success of the Tapas Nights, the Green Olive will be opening on Saturday evenings for Mostly Mexican Night! Booking is advisable, as with the Tapas Night.


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