For years Olive & Feta has been making a name for itself on Farsley Town Street… in a good way.
When it first opened in 2013, we praised it for its quality of food and service and also for bringing something new to Farsley. In 2015, we returned and gave it another thumbs up.
As a boutique restaurant in a far flung suburb of Leeds, it was a relatively safe bet that on any given day you could call by, usually without a reservation, and expect above average food.
The other thing I remember Olive & Feta for is not accepting cash, which I always thought was like owning a black and white TV or being on dial-up in the era of broadband but seeing as there was/is a cash machine bang opposite, it was never really a problem.
Well, times change.
Olive & Feta now accepts card payments. Hurrah! As far as I could work out is recently under new ownership and it seems they have big plans for the restaurant, more of which later…
On this occasion, because we were part of a larger group, we decided to book ahead but there was really no need. Arriving shortly after 5pm, we were the first ones in there and so we had our pick of the tables.
The owners have gone to considerable lengths to make the restaurant feel as comfortable as possible, with nice mood lighting and blinds to shield the view down Town Street (not that it’s a bad view per se but the odd articulated lorry sometimes thunders up the narrow road and so anything to limit such mid-meal intrusions is welcome) and the tables and chairs don’t feel too close together, which is always a worry with small restaurants.
The food here is Turkish and Italian and aims to be affordable and at the same time excellent. The menu isn’t huge but it’s not tiny either, so there’s plenty to choose from and enough to satisfy most palates but in every other sense it’s quite traditional, with starters/mains/desserts, plus extras and whatnot. Before we even get into how the food we ordered was, I can’t help wondering whether Olive & Feta would do better by ‘going tapas’. Aside from the fact it’s ‘trendy’ (if indeed that very word still qualifies as such), it gives small places like this the edge, in that it makes them far more versatile, able to cater for a broader range of customers.
Moving onto what we ordered: starters included humous (£4.50), halloumi (£6.50), grilled cheese served with salad and Turkish bread. What you get here, mostly with every dish, is lashings of freshness, either in white yogurt or radiant green mint sauce, with whatever your chosen main course is perched atop a chopped dressed zingy salad. Humous was better than you can buy in the shops. Sucuk: nice, spicy, packing heat but I wasn’t keen on the bread.
For my main I ordered Iskender Kebab (£14.50), tender pieces of lamb served on Turkish bread with Iskender sauce, which includes garlic, yogurt and herbs. It’s flagged up as the ‘original donner kebab’ and ‘the way it’s supposed to be’. After reading that I kind of expected something which vaguely resembled the ubiquitous Friday night last resort, or a dish from which I could at least trace its evolution. The thing is: who doesn’t like a decent donner kebab every now and then (vegetarians excepted)? Well, it was about a million miles away from a doner. In itself, this is not a bad thing but I have to say that if you’d put a doner kebab next to it, I’d probably choose the latter (even in the knowledge it was probably worse for me). Still, there was nothing wrong with the restaurant’s ‘original’ version.
The other main was linguini polpette (£14.99): pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce, essentially. Overall, good.
The star dish, however, came with desserts, which were cheesecake (faultless and cheap for £2.98) and ‘coffee with miniatures’, a delightful, surprising and quite frankly faith restoring dish comprising of a cup of coffee, accompanied by three mini desserts. Cute.
Something was mentioned - mumbled really - early on about an early bird deal but none of this seemed to filter into the final bill, which came in at £124 for six people (not bad, considering) and by the time we left, I completely forgot to ask about it.
Overall, this is a nice little suburban restaurant which provides quality food, friendly service and decent value for money.
Olive & Feta could soon be undergoing a makeover, as our waiter indicated they would soon be installing an upstairs cocktail bar and elongating the restaurant, which will require moving the bar from the end to the side wall - so, something to look forward to in the summer.
Address: 8 Town Street, Farsley, LS28 5DB
Opening times: 12.30pm-9.30pm seven days
Telephone: 0113 219 5759