What could be nicer on a chilly, windswept February evening than some warm, home cooked Turkish food?
The Olive Branch in Roundhay seems like it’s been there forever. It occupies an unassuming unit in a small row of shops set back slightly from the road on curiously named Street Lane. Its exterior decor comes in subtle earthy tones but this only serves to emphasis the warm glow emanating from within.
It’s not the biggest restaurant but the space is well used, with neat little rows of tables to either side and down the centre, with a bar at the far end.
The greeting is warm and pleasant, we were seated straight away and given menus. We only had a brief window in which to stop by, so the prompt service was most welcome.
It’s unashamedly Turkish, so meat features large in most dishes, although they do have a vegetarian pizza section and there’s things like haloumi and houmous and some very tasty home made bread.
We kicked off proceedings with drinks. I had an Efes draft (which bizarrely came in a 175cl bottle), which cost a staggering £5. I was there with the kids, so they all had lemonades at £2.50 a pop (which can get expensive if they want more than one, which they inevitably did).
Food-wise, I went for lamb chops (£12.50 on the menu but we benefited from an early bird deal, more of which later).
The children had a section of dishes, including garlic king prawns (jumbo karides sarimsakli as they are called on the menu) at £4.95, halloumi cheese (£4.95) and meatballs in tomato sauce served with salad (£4.95) and also a pizza (pepperoni, onions, peppers and olives - I asked them to skip the jalapenos).
The lamb chops came with bulgur rice and salad, a simple enough dish but one which fulfilled its brief, the slightly burned taste of the meat working wonderfully with the creamy tarteness of the yogurt - a great combination.
The pizza was all about the toppings, as it should be.
All in all, it’s one of those places to keep on your favourites list, because you know a) they know their stuff and b) you’re pretty much guaranteed a great night, which won’t cost the earth.
One thing that surprised me during the visit was a series of loud bangs coming from the ceiling, which sounded like a baby elephant had fallen off its trampoline - it turns out there’s a gym upstairs, so I wasn’t far out.
Staff seem well seasoned, delivering a polished service, which is commendable.
The bill came to £43.35, as we benefited from an early bird menu deal which included starter and main course for £13.95. Good value in my book and a place I’d happily recommend.
THE OLIVE BRANCH
STREET LANE, ROUNDHAY