With our time in Abu Dhabi coming to an end, we’re on a mission to try out all of the amazing restaurants in Abu Dhabi. Well, maybe not all of them but certainly the ones that have been waiting patiently on our list.
Todd English’s Olives – a gorgeous restaurant that absolutely shone, keeping both Nathan’s adventurous palette and my significantly-plainer tastes perfectly happy. With service that rivals any in Abu Dhabi, Olives may just become your new favourite restaurant.
Just Like Home – Only Better!
Once you’ve had your car complimentary valet parked (this is, after all, Abu Dhabi), you’ll find Olives within stumbling distance.
The restaurant itself is stylishly decorated with big comfortable seats and generously sized tables (which you’ll need for all of the food they’ll bring out to you!). Alternatively, guests are welcome to sit outside in the open courtyard, only metres from the canal. Even with the weather warming up, we enjoyed sitting outside with a light breeze so that would be our recommendation before we hit the peak of summer.
The staff are friendly and the atmosphere inviting so we instantly felt at ease. Yes, this is a fine-dining restaurant but the team do a superb job of welcoming everyone in and making them feel at home.
If only we had food like theirs on tap each night!
A Thirst for the Finer Things in Life
The right drink can start a night off perfectly and our night out was to be one of the best we’ve had in a long time, so I suppose, the writing was on the wall.
Throughout the evening we enjoyed a range of drinks and each and every one blew us away. At most we normally have one mocktail and then move onto soft drinks but drinks menu at Olives was too tempting to resist!
With options like the lemon cloud (Bacardi White, Limoncino, white chocolate, cream and sour mix), slingback (raspberry vodka, passion fruit puree and nectar, raspberries and mint), bubbly scarlet (my personal favourite – fresh raspberries, raspberry and almond syrup, ginger ale and lemon juice) and passion mangolada (passion fruit nectar, mango juice and coconut syrup), how on earth could we settle for a Coke?!
Let’s Get Started!
As all our meals out are, the dishes served to us are a tale of two opposing tastes – my more down-to-earth preferences and Nathan’s love of the finer things in life. With that in mind, let’s get down to business…
Let’s start by saying that my starter really was anything but basic – it was literally up there as one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten.
The Bronx Bomber flatbread (which I ordered in starter size) came loaded with a garlic tomato sauce, the most tender beef pepperoni, caramelised onions, mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil. It was so delicious that I genuinely had to hold myself back from eating it all before my main arrived!
The flatbread teamed perfectly with the homemade wedges and their accompanying sauces and though I shouldn’t have eaten quite so much of the bread starter, the rolls were impossible to put down. The garlic scrolls were amazing. Honestly, those alone made it worth visiting Olives.
Though my food was delicious, most of you will be here for the fine dining review and I don’t blame you for a second. Stick around as it didn’t disappoint.
In a bid to try as many things as possible, Nathan was presented with the chef’s tasting menu that was chock-full of all sorts of incredible dishes. Not only was each presented beautifully but the produce was clearly top-notch and a lot of skill had gone into cooking each item perfectly. Though most of Nathan’s dishes were beyond my limited (alright, fussy) palette, I couldn’t help but admire the creativity and eye for detail that went into each of them.
First up was the beef and tuna carpaccio – a beautifully balanced plate, both figuratively and literally. Served as two dishes in one, the beef carpaccio peeked our from under a cocktail glass whilst the tuna sat on top. Both components hit the spot with the beef nosing just slightly ahead thanks to its perfect combination of ingredients.
Following on, Nathan tried the chef’s variation on scallops vol-au-vent. His version was a treat for the eyes with perfectly browned scallops sitting atop beds of squid-ink risotto and cauliflower puree. The seafood was the standout of this dish so would be high on Nathan’s list of recommendations when paired with the puff pastry cups and lemon butter emulsion of the standard menu.
To be fair, his recommendation list would run off the page.
Finally, the veal agnolotti al plin arrived at our table and though it didn’t present as well as Nathan’s other starters, it bowled us both over with its perfectly balanced flavours. Braised veal ossobucco, fontina fondue stuffed pasta and black truffle essence combined to form what became both of our favourites for the evening.
If you enjoy hearty and delicious food, this is the one for you. Don’t be surprised if you see us at Olives alongside you, both munching away on the veal pasta!
Time for the Main Attraction
Just when we were sure we couldn’t possibly eat any more, our steaks arrived and we were proven wrong.
Steak in Abu Dhabi can be a bit hit or miss. To get a good steak is often hideously expensive (which is to be expected when you live in the middle of the desert.)
That wasn’t the case here though with both cuts being perfectly selected and cooked to order. Nathan’s lean prime beef tenderloin was paired with a delicious cracked pepper demi-glace (which I may just have stolen) whilst my rib eye was close to the size of a dinner plate and marbled to perfection.
Both dishes were served with a selection of tasty accompaniments but we were so full by this stage that we couldn’t do much more than have a little sample of each. What we did try though, was delicious.
With tummies full to the brim, it would have been easy to turn down dessert but who in their right mind does that?
Instead of opting for a full dessert, we were presented with a tasting plate each which offered a little sometime to suit everyone. From the smooth, creamy and deliciously citrusy panna cotta, to the moist red velvet cake and the coffee infused homemade ice cream and tiramisu, these light desserts finished the night off beautifully. Nathan loved the tiramisu and I devoured the panna cotta, both of which were clear favourites for us, but when we return, my eye is firmly on the apple pie.
Olives – Something to Suit Everyone
We had a fantastic evening at Olives with the food, drinks, location and amazing staff all playing an equally important role. We loved that the menu was so diverse, featuring a range of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, making it a restaurant that truly caters to all tastes.
Their current menu is available online so you can salivate over your keyboard before you make it into the restaurant.
Don’t move too fast though!
It will be impossible not to see up some potential options before heading along to the Venetian Village but try not to mentally preplan your dinner in its entirety – our waitress was spot on with her favourite dishes so it’s well worth listening to the expertise of the Olives team.
With a little over a month left in Abu Dhabi, both Nathan and I have vowed to return to Olives which I think says everything we need to say on the subject!
Don’t forget to take your Entertainer too to receive ‘buy one, get one free’ on your mains.
Pin this post so you’ll remember where to go on your next special occasion in Abu Dhabi.
Thank you to Sociate for inviting us to put Olives through their paces – they well and truely passed! As always, all thoughts on Exploring Kiwis are our own.