What glorious weather the Isle of Wight enjoyed in early June! Good job too, as otherwise the music festival would have been a wash-out and Seaclose Park remodelled as a quagmire to rival last year's Bestival mudbath.
Making the most of the sunshine, M and C put on their paddling clogs and tippytoed at the Appley beach's water's edge, cooling their bunions in the limpid waters of the Solent. They interrupted this recreation for a cream tea at Puckpool Tea Gardens, eating their scones under a shady vine.
The leisurely day continued with dinner at Olivo, the new kid on Union Street's block. Situated in what was historically the old post office, the building's previous incumbent was the ambitious Smithfields. Alas, that restaurant closed for reasons not known to Matt and Cat, although they hypothesise that maybe the carrying capacity of Union Street for big, vaguely Mediterranean eateries had been exceeded. Or perhaps it was just too large a building to sustainably maintain. For whatever reason, it would be a brave or confident business that would take on such a vast venue. Now, one such has stepped forward. Does Olivo have what it takes?
Having established impeccable restaurant credentials with its Newport branch - a Matt and Cat favourite - the Olivo team was certainly a contender to take on this empty behemoth. The fitters have left, the façade has been spruced up in a pleasing shade of olive and there's a couple of little olive trees flanking the door. Matt and Cat detected a theme.
And there's been more than a lick of paint applied. The bar has been opened out and the interior has been rusticated, a brick wall here, hefty ironmongery there. The menu too, is different from the Newport version; in Ryde, Olivo has incorporated a tapas menu from its Twickenham branch. Will it be as good as that of the nearby Black Sheep Bar? Matt and Cat may find out on another visit; tonight they ate from the main menu.
Pizza Fiorentina £8.25
Deserts x2 £10.50
2 beers £5.90
Apple juice £1.85
2 Coffees £3.50
Seemingly recognised by the waitress (presumably as regulars to her Newport branch) it wasn't long before M and C were seated in the dining room. Matt and Cat's more child-intolerant friends started going to Olivo, Newport; having boycotted both Pizza Hut and Pizza Express because of their popularity for children's parties. Unlike the cosy and intimate - some might say cramped - environment in Newport, Olivo Ryde is such a barn that there's plenty of room for all generations. On the day that M and C visited there were several families with children, patiently colouring and generally behaving better than their typical counterparts in some establishments. It was the last day of the Isle of Wight Festival and Cat overheard one of the children's female minders remark wearily that the men had all gone to the festival and left them with the kids. Judging by the festival's line up, the women got the better deal...
Discussing the kid-friendliness of a venue is a bit of a minefield. For some, if an eatery proclaims itself to be for over eighteens only it is seen as being unnecessarily exclusive. After all, how are children expected to learn how to behave in a restaurant if they are not allowed in? In the other corner, those who would like to eat without some tiny yelling Herbert running uncontrolled around the dining room are accused of being child-hating Nazis. So it is pleasing when these opposites are occasionally reconciled. Olivo managed to be both child-friendly and yet grown up. Perhaps it was that the children in this instance were too tired to yelp.
Either way, Matt and Cat's perusal of the menu was not in any way disrupted by the behaviour of the other diners, old or young. Once their orders had been taken, your reviewers sat back in their chairs and supped their drinks, reflecting on comments made on this site about Union Street's newest venue. There have been complaints that the service is extremely slow (see comments below) and, to test out this theory Matt glanced surreptitiously at his watch when he gave the food order. 7pm precisely.
With unexpected promptness Matt and Cat's food arrived. Perhaps Matt had not been as discreet as he thought when he looked at his watch - or perhaps M & C really had been recognised. The place was filling up and yet they only had to wait a not unreasonable twenty minutes for their food to arrive. Having barely had time to salivate Matt examined then tasted his dinner: venison medallions. Spiced medallions of thick, tender meat, with roasted wedge potatoes and shitake mushrooms were accompanied by a fresh mint and raspberry sauce. It was nearly the most expensive dish on the menu; a truly generous and well-presented pile of melt-in-the-mouth meat. He was soon in raptures, declaring it to be 'the best venison he'd ever had'. M and C also shared a fresh side salad - at extra cost - as the venison had no accompanying greens.
Cat's rather more pedestrian choice of pizza Fiorentina - pizza topped with spinach, egg, olives, Parmesan and garlic - looked like it might have been cooked a bit too long, perhaps waiting for Matt's dinner to be ready. The pizza crust was one click away from burnt, only just the right side of crispy and the egg had really been done an injustice. Instead of the runny-yolked (or even soft yolked) treat Cat was anticipating, the egg had been heated to dessication. The yolk was powdery and the white had mostly disintegrated. Still, the dish was livened up with a generous additional serving of grated Parmesan and black pepper plus as much garlic oil as The Cat could need. It still wasn't much to write home about and contrasted with Matt's successful choice of dish. This was the first dud that Cat had eaten at Olivo - it had to happen sooner or later.
Not to be put off, M and C ordered dessert. Matthew chose the crème brûlée, an excellent little ramekin of really good smoky tasting pudding with a yummy contrast between the burnt top and the sweetness under the caramelised lid. It was served with a welcome dollop of ice cream and a little chocolate favour. Nice! Cat had strudel and pistachio ice cream. Unlike its German counterpart, Italian strudel is not fruity, more a nutty cheesy concoction. The ice cream was spectacular, melting slowly over the pastry to make a sweet savoury combo. Both puddings were washed down with coffee.
Soon it was time to go. Looking at the bill whilst writing this review, Matt and Cat paid at 8.30pm - an hour and a half for dinner, dessert and coffee. It seemed that on that day at least, the teething troubles experienced by this new venue were overcome. Judging by more recent comments, Olivo has stepped up a gear. Although M and C had significantly different levels of satisfaction with their main courses, they know that this is a trusted brand and will definitely be making a return visit.
Categories: We like, Restaurants, Family friendly, Ryde, Tapas
Don't think we will go again unless they sort themselves out and give better service to big parties.
We were most pleasantly surpised with what was made out of the venue there, the friendly service (no obvious need for bouncers here either...) and of course they would serve us (at 9.45 by then), she just needed to clean up a table.
The second surprise was the menue which contains about half the now "traditional" Newport fare, half different dishes, many of them, guess what- tapas.
The service was -almost- up to the high standards met in Newport -the tapas - we ordered six- were excellent, and the atmosphere most pleasant. Outstanding on the tapas side was the quality of the ingridients - the serrano for example was so good it could have been in Spain -and a mussle tapa with couscous and squid cooked together, dates filled with goats cheese and fried in serrano ham, and pork chops in apple sauce- great.
Had some cocktails to start with and their variation of a Martini is certainly worth sampling...
Had just about space for one desert which was a Ricotta strudel with some very good quality pistaccio ice cream...
Have to be back for more and try how they do the "normal" dishes. The prices are fair as well- seems somebody has already picked up the chance I thought was mised by the blacksheeps bar. About time that late night dining means more than just curry (although we like this on occasions, too...)
Will be going back again soon.
Service was pleasant enough but very slow and the one waiter really needed a little nudge in the direction of the shower and a good deoderant.
Meal its self- starters OK but tiny in size, I had the chicken and my friend the venison-both very salty and if i am honest it was all a little bit overcooked- we reckon they were having an off night so we will go back
Matt and Cat respond: funnily enough we had some pannecotta there this week. it sounds as if you had the same thing. It was the texture of rubber, and indeed Matt amused himself by bouncing his spoon off it. It also tasted vaguely rubbery. No way up to the standard of the first courses. Mind you, we didn't wait too long.
I personally have never seen such good service on the island whilst dining in this price bracket and find the food and atmosphere to be top notch!
In fact we visited this restaurant over the mod weekend and again recently on the night of the ryde carnival. On both occasions we were part of a larger party (6 people) and were seated to the rear of the premisis. They were crazily busy!
It was pleasant to find the (at least some of the) staff dressed in rather modest, but fitting fancy dress each time - masquarade masks for the carnival and trilbys for the mods... the staff look as if they're really having fun and I find myself a little resentfull that staff at my place at work do not show such enthusiasm or natural ability for service.
No-one else comes close on the island right now and I'm thinking if you've had a bad experience you really should go back and try again.
sometimes the service is a bit slow but i think it depends on who you get- not everyone can be perfect all the time.
Only ever had one negative experience and that was with the bar man who didnt quite get the idea that i wanted pinot grigio not "whatever white wine he found".
myself and friends go regularly and the food is sublime!
Went to the newport one for the first time last week- was attrocious! the caesar salad was disgustingly greasy and meagre and the chicken burnt to a crisp. definately sticking to Ryde!!!
#1. After the excellent meal and service I received at Olivo's for my friends Birthday I selected this venue again to take my Wife, Mother and 13-month old daughter out for some lunch-time tapas early December. I won't bore you with a run-down of all the 8 dishes we had but I can confirm that the quality ranged from good to excellent so tapas lovers won't be disappointed - the service was great again too.
#2. The same crowd minus my Mother were invited here again for Xmas Eve lunch - once again great service and the incredibly rich but not too large Pork Belly was lovely.
#3. Oh dear - I went here yesterday and now know what some of the reviewers are talking about when they complain about the service - my Wife, daughter and I were seated, told there would be a 15-minute wait and waited... and waited... and waited. After over half an hour of seeing other people (who had arrived after us) have their orders taken and food delivered we realised we had been forgotten about. By this time my little girl was bored and fractious so we had no choice but to leave without so much as even being given a menu. An extended wait on a Saturday lunch-time I have no problem with but being seated then ignored for half an hour whilst others around you are served is inexcusable. I don't blame the staff who when very busy allways seem to cope well but there's definately an organisation problem somewhere here. Sort it out guys before you're as long-forgotten as Smithfields!
The Italian lager was a nice surprise too, the well-informed waitress describing the qualities of the lagers on tap.
Service was fast, friendly and professional. It seems like they've listened to feedback on this.
Looking forward to going again.
Stayed in Ryde for a week and ended up eating here on our first
and last nights.
Food was really good, staff were knowledgeable about their
menu and couldn't have been more helpful or welcoming
(especically with our two under 6s).
The food is delicious and was ready in good time but was sat waiting for waitress service under heat lamps.
The kitchen is open and you could see the chef getting fed up of waiting for service.
I made it obvious to the waiting staff I was watching them. One came over and asked was there a problem.
I said 'you do not have enough waiting staff' and was told a member of staff was ill.
If you have an evening to spare the quality of the food is worth the wait
An enjoyable experience as ever
We ordered tea and two 'four rashers' breakfasts. The tea came immediately - the breakfasts about three quarters of an hour later. The problem seems to lie in the kitchen - only three or four hot food orders appeared while we were waiting. The tea was far too strong with two full size teabags in a pot of tea for one, and when asked for more hot water, it was brought in a tiny milk jug. The food was excellent - four rashers of fantastic tender bacon on fresh ciabatta bread with a side salad and crispy deep-fried potatoes.
We'll be going back - but only if we have plenty of time and a flask of hot water with us!
3 of our table had steaks, two were undercooked and incredibly chewy! i had the venison which was cooked amazingly however the side of spinach(which sounded like a good idea) came out and was clearly the packeted frozen into block cheap stuff you find in the freezer at any supermarket.
wouldnt have minded so much paying 8-9 pounds,
but the steaks were £17 and venison @ £16! where is the profit going? also the sauce i had was wonderful but the chef had clearly bought in pre made raspberry coulis which is fine however i had it on the plate on top of my gravy so i had hot gravy but raspberry coulis which had just come out of the fridge. (just needs to be put in the pan guys)!!
id reccomend the owners going to have a look and trying to get the equivilent service of newport!
unfortunately wont be visiting again
What has been going on? (or not?)
We've been away for a few weeks and love our visits but do we venture back given the poor reviews? Probably at the weekend, but how easily some places slide out of favour.
Jim had the chicken off the new menu and we both shared the summer tiramisu which was beautiful. We love it here!
I just tried to book a table in Ryde and the background noise was intolerable. When I could hear her, the person who answered the 'phone gave me incoherent answers to my questions and quite frankly I gave up. I was told of two different sets of closing times for the same night within that conversation. Sadly, unless we just call in "on spec" we shall have to go elsewhere. Tramping the streets on a winter evening isn't the best way to start an evening celebration though.
OK, so the place was busy - great, but I think a little better customer service would be appreciated, plus answering the phone in a quieter part of the restaurant might be advantageous to future customers.
The service on Saturday evening was dreadful. We had to keep asking where our food was, both for starters and mains.
Granted it was busy, but others seated around us were served much quicker and with a smile. (we only noticed this because we had an empty food table in front of us for so long) I suppose the waitresses thought we were looking for trouble by our unnecessary requests, but all we wanted was to have a nice celebration evening and we didn't get that. As for the food - well it was ok, but you somehow lose interest after a disappointing wait. Even the white wine was served in very warm glasses. Sad to say, we shall not return.
Its mine and my partners anniversary today and we decided to go for lunch there as we have had a lot of good meals over the years in both Olivos.
We stood in the door way for a few minutes and no member of staff seemed bothered that we where standing there. As a waiter walked past we asked if we could take a seat in one of the many empty tables and he said yes.
We had seated ourselves and had a little chat while we waited for menus. Then we waited and waited and waited some more, after around 15 minutes of watching the staff talking to each other at the coffee counter i ended up have to ask a wondering member of staff for some menus. In retrospect this could have been the clue that this meal was not going to be good and we should have left.
After looking over the menus we ordered 2 of the roast beef and drinks.
The food came and other than the beef being over cooked it was quite a nice plate of food. once we had finished our meals we decided that we would have dessert and then a round of coffees, all we needed was for some one to clear our plates so we could ask for dessert menu.
I've had the debate with friends before over how long you should have to wait for your plates to be cleared, don't get me wrong i do not want my plate whipped away from me the moment the last fork of food has touched my lips. I've also had meals where i have been given no option and just brought the bill over as the table was cleared.
Today the staff decided they where not going to clear the table, offer desserts/coffee or bring the bill. They decided to forget that we existed, we waited and waited and waited again but no one bothered. By this point i was pretty upset (i must say normally it would not have bothered me so much but today all i wanted was a carefree relaxing anniversary lunch and what i ended up with was a battle to even be served)
I think if the restaurant was full and they had few staff i would have been a lot more forgiving but with a half empty restaurant and at least 5 or 6 waiting staff i felt like they really did not care at all.
Ended up getting up and waiting by the till paying and leaving.
will not be back again.
Went for a celebratory meal here last week with my mother who was over visiting and words can not describe the experience other than heaven!
From starter of bruschetta and a plate full of Italian meats and cheeses to our wonderful pasta specials (I never eat pasta when out so this was a real enticed option for me) to puddings of fudge, sorbet and waffles. Lovely staff who catered for children, patiently waited for my very indecisive mother and never rushed us for our table despite not booking and turning up off the street. A gorgeous restaurant with beautiful food and highly highly recommended for those visiting Ryde.