Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Olive Tree

Sun 29 April 2007

After some indecision we decided to try out the Olive Tree in Chapel Allerton. I'd actually already visited the original branch in Rodley a couple of times and been a little underwhelmed, but I was prepared to give it another go.

Last minute decision that it was, we did actually book a table. It was around 5pm when Andy made the reservation for quarter past 7. We arrived a little early and the restaurant was very busy. We were ushered to the 'lounge' upstairs and told that someone would be with us to take a drinks order. We waited and waited, and so did another (rather loud) group who arrived shortly after us: their patience was exceeded before ours and one of their party managed to drag a waiter upstairs.

Eventually, we were shown to our table. It was squashed into a corner and we had, literally, about 20 cms between us and the couple next to us. I had to move glassware in order to squeeze past to get to my seat! Nonetheless, beers in one hand, menus in the other, we snacked on the olives and pitta bread. At this stage, service was looking a little slow but there was no undue panic on the horizon.

I decided to start with the mixed dips (served with warm pitta bread) and Andy opted for the chicken pastries. Again, a bit of a wait, but the food arrived and Andy's pastries were not too shabby at all: cubes of chicken in a light sauce, wrapped in cigar like parcels and surrounded by salad. For £5.25 I thought my serving of dips was a little mean: tsatsiki (cucumber and yoghurt), melintzanosalata (aubergine) and taramosalata (cod roe). Of the three, I liked the tsatsiki best, but I don't know I would start raving about any of them. When the starters arrived I ordered another beer and when this came to the table, I asked about my pitta bread. The waitress took this in, disappeared and ... never reappeared. Now, while the dips were nice, they weren't exactly good enough to sit and eat with a spoon. We had only a couple of small pieces of pitta bread left from our original basket, and these went quickly. I think I probably ate less than half that which was on my plate.

We finished our starters. And then we waited and waited for our table to be cleared. Andy thinks it was a good 20 minutes. When the waiter (now on our third one for the evening) took our plates away, he didn't ask why there my starter was barely touched. A cursory 'was everything alright?' and that was that.

And then we waited.

Andy finished his beer.

I finished my beer.

We waited.

The restaurant was compelled to sing happy birthday to someone. Andy commented that perhaps they might like to put as much effort into getting our dinner to the table.

We waited some more.

Andy complained he was hungry and thirsty.

The lady at the table next to us (who had ordered around the same time, and were sitting so close to us we didn't need to eavesdrop) was worried that there was no food coming out of the kitchen at all.

And then, probably a good 40 minutes after we had finished our starters: the straw that broke the camel's back. Two people who had entered the restaurant after our plates had been cleared received their main courses.

I squeezed past the people next to us and explained to the staff that, while we were happy to pay for what we'd had, we simply weren't waiting around any more. There was a bit of confusion, and our original waiter gave us a bill for £9.90, "with service, £10.80". They were at least kind enough to knock off our drinks, and Andy suggested they might like to accept a £10 note.

As Housemate pointed out, they probably shouldn't have charged us at all.

After that, do I really need to give a verdict?

1. The Olive Tree, 188-190 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, LS7 4NZ, phone: 0113 269 8488

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, ended up whilst foodblog trawling!

I've just started a food blog myself, although I've been keeping a personal blog for the past year. I'm originally from the Philippines but have ended up in Barnsley =I (I know, I've got a whole blog dedicated to that)

Barnsley and food blog ~ a bit of a mismatch really, which is why I was keen to see who's out there blogging nearby. I do have to venture further afield (Leeds, Sheffield, even as far as Derbyshire) to appease my gastronomic hankerings...

Will be back for more!

1:36 pm  
Blogger Julie said...

Yes I totally agree about Olive Tree it has always been shoddy on customer service, yet added on the service charge.

Have you tried Stroom in Pudsey, we had really good food - all 3 excellent - carpaccio of beef good, all the fish and fois gras fantastic and sticky toffee pudding to die for - v. reasonable and service excellent. I'd be interested to see what you think.

8:09 pm  

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