The Black Olive is a contemporary restaurant situated in the heart of Longford Town. It’s almost two years since we first found this restaurant, and they have gone from strength to strength in the meantime, winning best restaurant in Longford and generally finding a confidence and comfort with their craft that comes from experience. Proprietor Fiona O’Keeffe is always there, and she infects it with her lively personality.
The Black Olive is on Ballymahon Street, which is a continuation of the Main Street. The restaurant is facing the landmark PV’s bar, up a wooden staircase. The room is nicely decorated in creams, with a shiny wooden floor. The space is long, running back from the front window towards the kitchen, which has a large open hatch that allows for views of the chef and his team at work. Leather chairs in cream and brown, and some colourful pieces of art, as well as lots of photos of guests and past occasions complete the look.
Interestingly the new menu has gone where so many others seem afraid to; they have added a calorie count to the dishes and some of the results are a bit of a surprise. Who thought a Caesar salad had a higher count than pork belly? Chef Paul Horohoe has been here since the beginning, and has grown into the role, and the calorie menu is a joint effort between Fiona and Paul.
There are some nice starters including seafood chowder, duck spring rolls, mussels with white wine and cream (a low 361alories) or goat’s cheese, beetroot and pine nut salad. Main courses that caught the eye were Barbary duck breast with five spice, baked monkfish with a cumin crust, chicken stuffed with Clonakilty pudding and a loin of rabbit.
I started with the prawn cocktail, which was a more contemporary take on this classic that I find very hard to pass by, and this one was pretty good indeed. It was the main course that I was really looking forward to; the rabbit filet wrapped in bacon. This came in four inch long steaks, wrapped in streaky bacon. The pieces were arranged on the plate with fondant potato and garlic and celeriac puree.
It’s easy to overcook rabbit, and I wondered if the bacon would be too much, that maybe Parma would be better; but I needn’t have worried, it was a fine dish that really tasted well, and the fondant potato was one of the best I have had. I almost passed on dessert, but a retro strawberry jelly and ice cream was too nostalgic to miss, and it finished a fine meal beautifully.
The Black Olive is fine restaurant, with a friendly welcome, good service and interesting and well made food. Prices are reasonable, and it’s certainly one to try if you haven’t already.