It’s been a couple of years since Oliver last visited Olive & Feta in Farsley at a time when it had not long been open and we were very impressed by the quality of food, the service and the price.
Two years on I’m happy to report that standards do not have appeared to have slipped, if anything they’ve raised the bar still higher.
We timed our visit during the week between Christmas and new year expecting the restaurant to be quiet as potential customers stayed away to recover from a week of excess.
Not a bit of it. So much so that when we rolled up with one person more than we’d booked for the maitre d’ struggled to find us a table. To his credit, despite the fact that we’d clearly caused him some inconvenience, he moved a few tables and chairs around and managed to squeeze us in - all the while apologising to us for the lack of space. A true gent.
He is not the only member of staff who deserves a mention. The two young girls who served us were a delight. Not only were they polite and efficient but they never stopped smiling - a pleasant change from some of the surly staff we’ve come across in other establishments. Situated on Town Street, Farsley’s main thoroughfare, the restaurant cast a warm glow across the street as we passed by on what was a dark and miserable winter’s night. Although there is no dedicated car park there is plenty of on-street parking and we had no trouble finding somewhere to leave the car.
Olive & Feta is not very large but what space there is has been utilised to good effect without trying to cram in too many tables. The decor is modern but not clinical with warm teak-effect wooden tables, smart vinyl-covered chairs and flattering lighting and as it was just after Christmas, the tasteful decorations were still in place.
Once seated we were handed the menus and our drinks order taken. The two large glasses of keenly-priced house wine (£4.25) were deemed perfectly acceptable and the driver stuck to tap water, a glassful served with ice and lemon and later supplemented with a bottle.
Menu choices are not overly extensive but there is a fair selection of ‘typical’ Mediterranean dishes such as mussels, calamari, hummus and of course olives and feta for starters and a good choice of chicken lamb and fish dishes as well as pizza and pasta for main courses.
They all appeared to represent excellent value for money starters are from £3.95-£5.95 and main courses kick in at a mere £6.95 with the most expensive selection at £14.95.
But, said the maitre d’(and repeated by our waitress), we could have any starter or dessert with any main course for just £12.99. This pretty decent offer is available every evening from Sunday to Thursday; the only dish not included is the mixed hot meze platter for two people at £13.95. However, we decided to share one between three and use the ‘meal deal’ for a main course and dessert.
While we waited for the starter to arrive we were presented by an enormous billowing plate of hot Turkish bread and garlic butter which looked and tasted wonderful. If this was a sign of things to come then we were prepared to be impressed.
When the meze platter landed it took up much of the space on the table and came filled with selection of hot and cold starters. Chorizo kebabs, cubes of feta cheese,cheese stuffed peppers, calamari and stuffed vine leaves were complemented by salsa, olives, halloumi and hummus.
There was too much for even three of us to polish off and it was pronounced to be a real winner - the only criticism was that a couple of the calamari were a bit ‘chewy’.
Main courses were Moroccan spicy lamb cutlets in a lime, coriander, creme fraiche sauce (£12.95) and served with a selection of crisp vegetables (£2.25); chicken nabu, a chicken breast cooked with Mediterranean vegetables and goat’s cheese (£10,95) and served with chips (£2.25) and lamb kebabs (£10.95). The chicken breast was said to be delicious, the goat’s cheese a delicate flavour and the meat tender and succulent, there were no complaints about the kebab either. But despite my lamb cutlets being cooked to perfection and the sauce creamy it was disappointingly bland considering it was described on the menu as a spicy dish. The vegetables, including sprouts in celebration of the festive season, were perfectly cooked.
The main course dishes were all expertly presented with the odd little flourish and served on understated white crockery which emphasised the colours and textures of the food on the plates.
Having left room for dessert we were disappointed that the baclava was unavailable but plumped for orange cake, cheesecake and lemon tart - again, all were beautifully served, were substantial portions and most importantly were immensely enjoyable.
Farsley is not blessed with many places to eat out so the fact that the Olive & Feta is so good is great news for local diners. While we were there, two large parties were celebrating and it was clear they were regulars by the interaction they enjoyed with the staff.
Because we’d taken advantage of midweek offer, our bill including drinks came to £64.42, which is amazing value for money, particularly when you take everything else into consideration.
Olive & Feta is a fine example of what a small town restaurant does best; freshly cooked food packed with flavour, friendly approachable staff and a relaxing atmosphere. We shall certainly return.
OLIVE AND FETA
Address: 8, Town St, Farsley, LS28, 5DB
Tel: 0113 219 5759
Opening times: Daily, noon to 10pm