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The Olive holds a lot of promise

Life seems to be so unreasonably busy these days.


My husband and I had been trying for weeks to find a mutually convenient time to go out for lunch together, but life, in its many and varied forms, had denied us the opportunity.

At long last, an afternoon stretched out invitingly before us and having safely deposited the offspring, we headed towards The Olive Salad Bar and Coffee Shop, a place we have been wanting to go since it moved from busy Churchill Avenue to a quieter spot in College Road, New Alex Park.

We arrived for a late lunch and chose to sit inside as it was quite chilly. There are plenty of secluded tables in the garden and the setting is pleasant, but more attention could be paid to the garden to make it spectacular, as opposed to nice, but ordinary.

Inside, we settled down to peruse the delectable menu, which defines this deluxe coffee shop. Any negative thoughts pertaining to the garden area were vanquished by the promising selection of meals.

The choice is limited, but certainly wide enough to entice both vegetarians and meat-eaters. The breakfast section offers exciting choices such as scrambled eggs with sun-dried tomatoes and rocket, and omelettes with an array of fillings; bacon, salmon, rocket and blue cheese.

There are substantial meals to order for lunch, such as a delicious-sounding gourmet chicken burger and beef lasagne.

But it was the selection of salads which took our fancy. The chef who conjured-up the menu obviously had a vision for delicate and tantalising combinations to create sublime-sounding salads.

How does warm roasted chillied butternut with basil and blue cheese salad sound to you? Or what about roasted vegetable cous cous salad with goat’s cheese?

We decided on the Cambodian hot and sour beef salad (US$14) and the chilli chicken and cashew nut salad, and sat back to wait for our little slice of heaven.

While we waited, we sipped on homemade lemonade and an interesting juice mixture of carrot and apple with ginger. The menu offers a selection of fruit and vegetable juices for you to choose your own concoction.

There is an interesting selection of teas and coffees as well.

Our salads arrived in due course. These did not deliver on the great expectations created by their delectable descriptions.

The Cambodian beef salad was short on the alluringly described hot and sour flavouring, while the chilli chicken salad lacked flavour and contained few cashews — rather than the crunchy, nutty contrast of generous cashews combined with succulent chicken strips that I had been fantasising about.

I selected the homemade ice-cream with figs in syrup for dessert. The ice-cream really did not taste homemade and the promised figs were absent, while the scrumptious carrot cake was heavy and our cappuccinos weak.

So our overall impression was, that The Olive holds much promise, but some work is needed to ensure that what is described on the menu, is the same as what arrives at the table.

Deluxe Coffee Shop
3 Plates
Expect to spend US$25 to US$35 per head for lunch
11 College Road, New Alexandra Park

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