Restaurant review: The Olive Branch, Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds

PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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The last time any of the Oliver family visited The Olive Branch in Roundhay was five years ago, so we thought a return visit was well overdue.

Since then, the business has expanded with a branch in Alwoodley - it already has another outlet in Hebden Bridge - so the formula is clearly working.

Little Oliver and a friend popped in for an express dinner on an early midweek evening, and we were keen to see what they could serve up for diners on the run.

This Turkish bistro is nestled in a parade of shops in Street Lane, an area with a wide range of dining options, and therefore some healthy competition.

The restaurant itself is small, with around 30 seats and quite an informal cafe-like setting and decor. There are also a number of bistro tables set up outside,

The menu has a good selection of hot and cold mezze classics and Turkish grill and specialist ‘pide’ pizza options.

There is a permanent special offer of £12.95 for two courses for dinner, and £10.50 for lunch (11.30am to 3pm) which we felt was good value.

The menu also has a small selection of Tex Mex offerings and European offerings promising a Turkish twist.

It might seem more confusion than fusion to some. But on this occasion it worked in our favour, because our ‘between lunch and dinner’ timing meant I personally wasn’t quite ready for a big heavy grill or pizza.

So it was we found ourselves munching on starters of cheesy Nachos and garlic prawns, both of which came out impressively quickly.

My fat juicy perfectly cooked prawns in a lightly spicy, rich tomato sauce were divine. I also loved mopping the sauce up with chunks of fluffy Turkish seeded bread. The Nachos were very average, and came initially with very little salsa, so my companion asked for more and then got a huge dollop of it. It tasted great though.

Both starters came, inexplicably, with a big spoonful of yoghurt, mint, garlic and cucumber dip on the side, which seemed to be an unnecessary addition for these particular dishes.

For his main, my companion choose a beef steak with side of bulgur rice, chunky chips and more of that salsa. The steak was perfectly cooked to his liking. Enough said. A happy carnivore.

I too eschewed Turkish classic for Mexican interloper. My ‘Turkish style’ chicken fajitas were served rather awkwardly in their separate elements on large plates, crowding up our tiny table.

The chicken, again with a hint of spice, was delicious, perfectly cooked and still sizzling on its iron platter on a bedof peppers. The tortilla wraps were massive and there were two of them. I liked putting together my fajitas and portions were generous, There was more of that ubiquitous yoghurt dip which actually worked well here, adding that promised Turkish twist, and the overall taste was delicious.

Service was immaculate, and we were in and out in less than 60 minutes, which suited the timing constraints of this particular visit perfectly.

I’ll definitely be popping back for an evening visit when I can savour the Mediterranean flavours properly at a more leisurely pace.

Our total bill was £30, which included the £12.95 for two courses offer and a soft drink each.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5