Cafes, Restaurants and Dining in Perth, Western Australia.

The Olive Tree Restaurant

20 Emerald Tce, West Perth
Ph:(08) 9322 5586

Born Again!

New owners and a new menu have brought new life to The Olive Tree. Housed in an original character cottage in Emerald Terrace(alittle one-way street just off Hay Street in West Perth), The Olive Tree restaurant has been around for a very long time – our waitress Stella Alessi told us that she has been working there for about thirty years, and still loves the place. The atmosphere is romantic, intimate and cozy, however there is a wonderful function room and courtyard at the rear, which seats about ninety guests, which as well as being fabulous for weddings, birthdays, and parties, it would also be a great venue for conferences, business meetings or seminars.

On the day we visited they were still in the throes of redecorating – replacing tablecloths, carpets, canopy and crockery. New owners Jayne Shilcof and Dominic D’Souza took over in April 2011, introducing a new, dynamic and creative menu. We sampled five dishes in all, and each one was totally unique.

We started with ‘Heirloom carrot salad’ – a selection of purple, white and orange carrot sections, poached in Konbu (Japanese seaweed), plus curls of carrot filled with sorrel and goats cheese cream. This was topped with wild fennel flowers, pea shoots, olive oil powder, dried kaffir lime and gingerbread crumbs – a very exotic list of ingredients making for a dish that was stunning and picturesque to look at, truly different, and full of fabulous taste sensations.

Our next entree was the ‘Baby beetroot with pan-fried haloumi, rye bread crisps and vinaigrette foam’. The little beets were, again, delightfully presented – yellow ones poached in Konbu alternating with red ones pickled in soy sauce – another really unusual dish. We accompanied the entrees with a nice glass of Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from New Zealand. The wine’s crisp clean finish – not too sweet – brought out the wild fresh mix of flavours.

Next we had the ‘Chicken breast’ – but this was no ordinary chicken breast – it was premium free range chicken, slow cooked to keep in all the flavour, moist, tender, served on a tasty base of corn and saffron puree, with Jerusalem artichoke chips, and an onion and peanut crumble, nasturtium and rosemary flowers on top. It smelled fantastic and tasted even better. We had an entree size portion, but I would definitely recommend this as a mains. The wine we had with this dish was Ingoldby McLaren Valley Chardonnay 2009.

The desserts on offer are every bit as unusual as their entrees – delightful little fairy feasts – flights of fancy filled with a myriad of different textures and flavours, incorporating a lot of Asian ingredients, but prepared in a Western style.

The first one we tried was ‘Limoncello curd’, with little drops of sumac meringue (sumac is a middle-eastern berry with a lemony flavour), sesame crisps, green tea mascarpone, basil seeds soaked in limoncello, and purple tapioca pearls cooked with golden syrup. Jane selected a fantastic wine to go with this – Juliet Moscato 2010 – a sweeter white, but not too sweet, it perfectly suited this dessert, which was sensational.

Last, but not least, came the ‘Chocolate, quince and coconut dessert’ – a base layer of 55% milk chocolate ganache, under a quince compote with red wine, sprinkled with a mixture of chocolate soil (half-cooked cookie base), dried chocolate cake, mint powder and sour prune powder. This was absolutely gorgeous – a dessert to die for, a real chocolate-lover’s delight – and again, the Juliet Moscato 2010 was the perfect wine to go with it.

The quality of the fare could lead you to think that eating here might make a large dent in the budget, but the prices were very reasonable, with entrees averaging around $14, most of the mains under $30, and the wonderful hand-made desserts were $12. The Olive Tree is open for lunch from 11:30am Tuesday to Friday, and for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm, and is definitely well worth a visit!

Each dish was a totally surprising, amazing mix of fresh and fabulous ingredients, presented like a work of art, created with passion and designed to titillate all the senses. Bravo!

By Georgina Goss

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