Displayed proudly on the wall of Olive & Feta is a letter from Stuart Andrew MP congratulating the restaurant’s owners on a glowing review which was given by this very column back in April 2013.
The letter praises the staff and concludes with the promise that Mr Andrew would soon be booking a table.
When I asked one of the waiters whether the Tory MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough was true to his word, the answer came back ‘yes’.
That’s rather fitting, because this unassuming little restaurant, tucked away at the top of Town Street in Farsley, has much to offer.
When Oliver visited 18 months ago, we praised the restaurant for its service, its food and the atmosphere and we are happy to report that all three areas remain on the right track.
We pitched up unannounced on a Monday night and found the place empty bar one other couple. The atmosphere here is warm and welcoming, made even more so at this time of year thanks to their tasteful festive decorations. The interior is small but without any sense of claustrophobia, the lighting is subtle and works well with the soft pine wood of the tables and chairs.
Within half an hour or so of us arriving, the place began to get a lot busier with two or three tables being taken and this continued pretty much until we left, with the place near full - not bad for a Monday night. Word must have travelled.
Olive & Feta serves up a simple menu of Mediterranean food and standards haven’t slipped. There’s a sense of freshness to the dishes.
When I order cheesy peppers (£4.95) for my started, the presentation on the plate is immaculate and the taste does more than match it - a crusty, breadcrumb shell reveals a slightly salty, melted cheese interior which is given a satisfying kick provided by Jalapeno peppers. And in the corner of the plate, a welcome dab of humus and rich, cooling tomato salsa.
My partner ordered polpette: hand-made meatballs cooked in a spicy tomatoe sauce (£5.45), which again proved a good dish, the sauce rich and packed with flavour, the meatballs well cooked and well seasoned with a hint of chilli.
So far, so good...
For my main I went for the mixed grill (£14.95), which came with char-grilled chicken, a lamb cutlet, skewered lamb shisk kebab and adana skewer, together with salad and pile of steamed rice together with corner splodges of humus, salsa and sour cream.
My dining partner ordered linguine pescatore (seafood pasta at £10.95), which came with an assortment of seafood - quid, mussels and the like and king prawns, complete with heads, which we’re not averse to by any means, so long as it’s cooked properly and on this occasion we felt the shellfish were slightly overdone, which inevitably leads to a change in texture and a loss of flavour. That’s not to say the entire dish was a disaster - it wasn’t and my partner finished the lot, so call the aforementioned observation a niggle.
We also ordered a side of chips (£2.25) and a plate of humus (£3.95).
There’s no menu for desserts at Olive & Feta, instead staff will let you know there are four main options: cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake with ice cream or cream, profiteroles and ice cream in strawberry, chocolate or vanilla.
We went for chocolate ice cream (£3.50) and chocolate fudge cake with ice cream (£3.95), both of which were adequate.
All told, with drinks - two glasses of house white (£8.40 ) and two Peroni beers (£8.50), our final bill came to £66.85.
Judging by how busy the place was when we left, at about 8pm, Olive & Feta is doing more than okay for itself. When we first visited this out-in-the-sticks eaterie, we were impressed by the level of service and the quality of food on offer. Neither of those have slipped, in spite of a few niggles on our visit.
In fact, the service at Olive & Feta is worthy of special mention. Staff are smartly dressed, courteous and ready to help in whatever way they can. While ordering, we asked whether the sauce which came with the meatball starter could be altered to make it less spicy and this request was gladly accommodated. However, we were not asked if we wanted a dessert (we had to ask); neither were we offered coffees or tea to finish, a slight oversight and one easily rectifiable.
One other slight bugbear, if you will, is that they (still) do not accept payment via credit or debit card, which means unless you have cash on you (and who does these days?), you will at some point be forced to make a quick trip to the nearest cashpoint, which, thankfully, in this case happens to be just across the road (and, again thankfully, it was not raining).
If memory serves, things were the same last time when we were told card payment would soon be available.
Not having it all seems a bit 1980s and one wonders why they do not take card payments. Still, so long as you are aware of this before you go, you will at least be able to avoid the dash across the road.
Olive & Feta is doing good things in the name of Mediterranean food. It’s a slick enough operation to take on some of the big boys in the city centre and so to find a restaurant of this quality as far flung as Farsley - a welcome refuge just a stone’s throw from the outer ring road - is admirable.
It’s nice to see restaurants of this quality making a name for themselves (and they obviously already have the backing of at least one local MP). If they continue to maintain the high standards they have obviously set themselves, then they can expect yet more plaudits.
Overall, we enjoyed our trip to Olive & Feta and, indeed, it’s a place we hope to see more of in future. In the meantime, if you find yourself at a loose end one night and fancy a trip out, we can’t recommend it enough, so give it a try.
Address: 8 Town Street, Farsley LS28 5DB
Opening times: noon-10pm Mon-Thurs & Sunday, Fri and Sat noon-10.30pm
Tel: 0113 2195759