The Olive Shed, Princes Wharf: Review

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A Friday night visit from my dad and my sister necessitated the booking of a nearby restaurant with a range of dishes to suit all three of our palates, and that was able to cope with us booking at relatively short notice. You can’t get much closer to my flat than The Olive Shed: an unassuming building overlooking the water on Princes Wharf, with a choice of both tapas and a la carte menus to whet the appetite.

Being a mild evening, a number of the picnic tables at the front of the restaurant were occupied, but we walked through past the open plan kitchen downstairs and up to the first floor to take our place in the main dining room.

Decorated in various shades of red and orange, the restaurant seats around 40 with the coveted tables being those beside the windows, which are flung wide open in the summer months. Ornate wall lanterns provide the lighting, which, if truth be told, was a little too dim for our liking.

Instead of the a la carte menu, we went for a variety of tapas dishes to share, ordering three at a time for a leisurely meal. Along with our bottle of Rioja, we ordered a portion of Gordal olives with harissa (£3) to share – sadly the advertised Gordal olives weren’t available on the night, but the green and black alternatives with which we were presented were tasty enough – they could simply have done with more harissa.

One of the standout dishes of the evening for us was the lamb rump (£6) with garlic and zhoug (no, we didn’t know what zhoug was either – it’s a Yemenite green chilli sauce). The lamb was beautifully tender and well seared on the outside, the combination of herbs, garlic, chilli and plenty of oil giving the dish a bright and fresh flavour.

 

The Olive Shed - Lamb

 

My other personal highlight (no photo, I’m afraid) was the Gambas with chilli, ouzo, garlic and feta (£7.50): a mound of plump and juicy tiger prawns in a pungent yet sweet coating – the creaminess of the feta worked well too. We could’ve done with a finger bowl (the shells and tails were still attached), but they were fantastic nonetheless.

We also ordered a portion of the cauliflower and cumin bites with pesto (£4.95): the flavours were great, but the cumin was somewhat lacking and we would have preferred the cauliflower to be crispier.

 

The Olive Shed - Cauliflower

 

The patatas bravas (£4) went down a treat: a generous portion of crisp-shelled yet fluffy-centred potato cubes, topped with a thick spiced tomato sauce and a lovely strong aioli.

 The Olive Shed - Patatas Bravas

 

Our order of chorizo croquetas from the specials board was full of flavour, while the chicken with sobrasada and Kalamata olives (£5.50) was cooked well and included plenty of richness from the sobrasada.

Tapas finished, we decided to share a cheese platter (£15): an appealing-sounding selection of San Simon, Dorset Blue, Manchego and Westcombe Cheddar with a variety of pickles, breads and biscuits. Sadly, it sounded more appealing than it actually was: the cheese was still fridge-cold, and the presentation didn’t appeal at all: I prefer to choose whether or not I want chutney/pickles with my cheese, rather than having them slathered over the top giving me no choice…

 The Olive Shed - Cheese Platter

 

Somehow, we managed to squeeze in dessert: my dad’s limoncello tart with toasted salted almond cream (£5.75) was quickly devoured, while my sister’s blood orange crème caramel (£5.95) was beautifully presented and absolutely delicious.

I went for “Aunt Rosa’s boozy tiramisu” (£5.50) – an enormous portion with the cream and biscuit perfectly balanced…but in all honesty, it wasn’t as boozy as I expected.

 The Olive Shed - Tiramisu

 

All in all, a bit hit and miss…many of the tapas dishes were great, but a few of our dishes just didn’t hit the mark. The meal was great value for money, though, and with great views across the water, I’m sure I’ll be back.

 

 

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