Oliver likes pleasant surprises. Our recent trip to Farsley’s latest chic eaterie, Olive & Feta, proved to be just that.
Situated at the top end of this bustling little high street, which still boasts its own butchers, barber’s, Post Office and handyman shops, you will find the oddly named Olive & Feta.
It’s a boutique restaurant, its exterior all slick black with contrasting red and green lettering.
Upon entering, you realise it is rather small, however, size isn’t everything.
The space is intimate and welcoming, the lighting not too bright, the decor all soft wood and calming beige chairs.
We were greeted cordially by our waitress, who turned out to be something of a gem.
Once seated, we were given time to peruse the menu, which is not over-long and not over-complicated but still has a very decent range of dishes.
Olive & Feta is a restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine, so you will find things like baby fried calamari, pan fried king prawns and polpette (home made meatballs) but there’s also some traditional favourites, such as sirloin steak, duck in orange sauce and a selection of pizzas.
To start we ordered humus (a blend of tahini, mushed chickpeas, olive oil, lemon, salt and garlic, £3.95) and mussels (steamed in white wine, lemon, garlic and herbs and served with a ciabatta, £5.95).
Both proved to be fantastic in terms of presentation and taste.
Humus is a difficult dish to get right – it can sometimes appear lacklustre or be a little bland of flavour – this dish was neither. It was zesty, fresh and clean, a delight to eat.
Meanwhile, the mussels were positively dripping with rich flavours, the aroma of the dish alone enough to set your mouth watering.
With starters out of the way, we had plenty of time to chat and relax in this snug supper club of a restaurant.
In fact, that’s what you find yourself doing almost straight away – relaxing. After all, that is what a good restaurant is all about.
Our mains came not too long after – linguini pescatore (pasta cooked with assorted seafood in a fresh tomato sauce, £10.95) and chicken shish kebab (cubes of chargrilled marinated chicken on a skewer) £11.95.
To go with them we also ordered a portion of chips (£2.25), a salad (£2.25) and a garlic pizza bread(£4.95).
Judging by the quality of the dishes being served at Olive & Feta, it is clear there is a talented chef working behind the scenes – the food which arrives at your table is fresh, well presented and, most importantly of all, tastes fantastic but one also gets the sense that much of this is effortless: there is no pretentiousness in the presentation, dishes are presented simply and without unnecessary fuss, although the odd little flourish belies their creator’s passion for food.
The seafood pasta was my standout favourite, the dish had so many flavours dancing around in there and yet, somehow, they all came together without getting in each other’s way. It was a delight to eat, it was almost a journey of discovery in terms of taste.
Meanwhile, the chicken kebab had robust, rounded flavours, it was tender, succulent and once again, benefited from no-nonsense presentation.
We rounded off our meal with ice cream (£3.50) and cheesecake (£3.95), both of which met the high standards we had enjoyed throughout our meal.
Together with drinks during the meal (Peroni £3.25, glass of white wine £2.20) and coffees to finish (£2 each), the final bill came to £66.15, which isn’t at all bad given the quality of food and service, which Oliver must now make mention of.
Service is one of those things which is so crucial to a restaurant’s success. If it’s not right, even if the food dances off the plate into your mouth, you are going to leave with a negative feeling and likely not return.
However, Oliver is happy to report this is not the case at Olive & Feta.
In fact, the service is a reason to return.
Our waitress was polite, welcoming, full of charm and genuine warmth, which again is something which is often lacking in many city centre eateries.
Olive & Feta is food without the fuss, home cooking at its best, the kind of place you long to escape to, a diamond in the rough and more.
It’s not something you expect to find hidden away on Farsley Town Street, however, that said, it is perhaps a point in its favour that it is not located in the centre of Leeds and having to compete with the more commercial, less personal restaurants.
This is one of those places you imagine wanting to visit and once you have tried it, Oliver reckons you’ll want to sample more.
It’s just one of those easy-going, quality restaurants out in the sticks, quietly plying its trade and no doubt generating a loyal following in the process.
The place itself hasn’t been open that long but judging by our experience, it’s already found its feet.
One area where it is possibly missing out at the moment (although this is possibly due to its age) is it has no proper website, instead relying on a Facebook page.
Also, Oliver struggled to find a telephone number for Olive & Feta on the internet, so booking a table there is going to be that much more difficult, which is a shame because such a quality venue deserves to be enjoyed by not just the few but the many.
Certainly, it could give some of the more well known local Mediterranean restaurants a good run for their money.
What we have here is a down-to-earth, good, honest restaurant serving food as it should be – simple and full of flavour at a decent price.
It is more than worthy of your time and money and Oliver will be making a return visit before very long.
Adress: Town Street, Farsley
Opening times: Monday (closed), Tuesday-Thursday 5pm-10pm, Friday & Saturday 5pm-10.30pm, Sunday 5pm-10pm.
Tel: 01132 195 759.