Paolo and Rocco take a trip to Newbridge to try out L'Olivier Restaurant. This friendly French bistro serves up what can only be described as superb food. L’Olivier is situated down Limerick Lane, opposite Penney’s. The inside is simply decorated with black and white photographs. The room has a mezzanine, and the effect is comfortable and inviting. Here is what they found.
Our starters arrived and I had in front of me a fairly standard Italian salad of mozzarella and tomatoes. The okay mozzarella and some nearly ripe tomatoes weren't amazing, but the plate was very nicely presented. Rocco, on the other hand, had a delight in front of him. The snails weren't presented in their shells, but each one was on a tiny tartlet smothered in garlic butter -- an absolutely terrific dish and beautifully presented that would have been at home in any top-end restaurant. The ventaglio was good too, so the pizzas here are probably good.
The main courses arrived and Rocco got a saddle of rabbit in mustard sauce served on a bed of mash. My veal dish and Rocco's dish both came on interesting plates, his triangular, mine of patterned glass. The rabbit dish was superb; the meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned, and it had Rocco in ecstasies of gastronomic pleasure.
I had a very tasty dish in front of me, but saltimbocca alla Romana it wasn't. This is one of the few dishes in Italian cooking that has an official, approved recipe -- agreed by a panel of chefs in Venice in 1962. Thin slices of veal topped with prosciutto and sage leaves held together with cocktail sticks are browned in butter and finished with white wine. I had a slice of veal topped with a slice of prosciutto, and the whole thing covered with a thick layer of melted mozzarella. Very nice it was too, but it wasn't saltimbocca.
Rocco had so enjoyed his rabbit that he didn't want to leave any meat on the carcass, so he picked it up and was gnawing away on it when our waiter arrived with a finger bowl of hot water and lemon. That's a perfect example of what good service is. It's pro-active; you don't have to ask for the finger bowl -- he sees you using your fingers and brings one. That's attention to a customer's needs, even before he knows he has a need.
We finished up with a café gourmand, which was three mini desserts which we shared: a crème brulée, a chocolate pot and a mini meringue, all beautifully made by a pastry chef who knows the trade.
An espresso each brought the bill to €87.40 without service charge.
3 Limerick Lane, Newbridge, Co Kildare.
(for two with wine)
Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday 1pm-5pm
Early Bird: Tuesday to Sunday 5pm-7:30pm
Tuesday to Sunday 7:30pm-10pm.