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Out For Dinner To Celebrate Olive Restaurant's 8th Birthday


Published On Friday 16 Feb 2024 by Sticky Beak
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Fashionably late was taken to a WHOLE new level by this flock! We were supposed to be bringing in the new year with a family meal at Olive Moroccan restaurant in Belper, but life had other plans; thankfully we’re still around to tell the tale and eventually had our NYE a full month later. As it happens, it couldn’t have been better, as our new booking coincided with Jacqui celebrating her restaurants 8th birthday… complete with complimentary cocktail!



As well as me, His Nibs and Mummy Bird, Fledge and The Beau also came along as per the original NYE planned line-up. Olive isn’t normally open on Sundays, but Jacqui had a large group in, so she opened the bookings up for a wider audience – we needed no second bidding. As soon as we stepped over the threshold all our cares melted away; the room is eclectically decorated and the warm colours naturally make you feel cosy and relaxed. Candles gave a gorgeous subtle lighting, accented with fairy lights and mis-matched floor lamps.



Olive is unlicensed, so you bring along whatever tipples tickle your fancy and Jacqui charges a minimal corkage fee. Those who don’t drink can take their own faves along, or sup the unlimited chilled water that Jacqui and her team provide in huge jugs. All the scrumptious morsels were written on the oval blackboard that dominates the far wall, so if you are new to Olive you can easily take a photo and peruse what you fancy at your leisure. Our approach is laid-back a la Olive and its Moroccan influence, so we just said to Jacqui to bring out what she fancied when it was ready! 



First up, we had some Pea Hummus with warmed Pitta bread and a bowl of mixed Olives and Feta Cheese; Mummy and I snaffled the Olives and Feta a) cos we’re greedy and b) cos no-one else in the group likes them, which suits us down to the ground. Jacqui’s hummus always has a light texture to it, so your senses get stimulated, rather than you feeling like you’re eating baby food. Also served up were delicious spiced rice-and-veggie stuffed Vine Leaves; The Beau hadn’t had these before and was a bit sceptical, but I said the leaves were akin to Spinach (ok, so it was a bit of a vague similarity!) so he gave them a bash.



Those of you who love tasty, colourful salads will lose your minds at Olive; Jacqui makes some mean ones! Mujadara came out to us first, the platter absolutely spilling over with the spiced mixture of Rice and Lentils that was topped with yoghurt, torn leaves of fresh herbs, and Pomegranate seeds. Fledge absolutely loves this, so she got first dibs, and heaped a load onto The Beau’s plate, too; both of them gave this morsel top marks, and the rest of us divvied up the remainder between the three plates.



Tabbouleh was even more colourful, the grains of Bulgar Wheat pimped up with chopped Cucumber, Tomato and Onion and seasoned liberally with fresh Mint, Lemon juice and Olive Oil. Mummy Bird loves this, its clean, bright taste appealing to her; His Nibs likes it too, but leaves the Cucumber and Tomato for us! My personal favourite is the Beetroot, Orange, Feta and Walnut salad that Jacqui serves at Olive; not only is it full of taste and texture, but its jewel colours give it some serious visual appeal – Jacqui uses a wide variety of salad leaves to add interest as well.



After having some cool food, we were treated to some warm morsels: Jacqui’s delicious Chicken Shawarma. Every time we’ve eaten at Olive, the flavour has been slightly different, or the chicken sliced/cubed/served whole (whether breast or thigh). On this occasion, Jacqui had used more Cayenne to give it some superb warmth on a cold winter evening and left the meat in larger pieces – as always, though, the meat was juicy and tender. Just as zingy were the meatballs, another specialty of Jacqui’s, which she did us a double portion of as she knows The Man Bird loves them!



Olive serves up a multitude of dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and has recently started to host vegan specific evenings for those of you that eat this way. Our next treat was a dish of Falafels, spheres made primarily from mashed Chickpeas and/or Fava Beans with Onion, Parsley, Coriander, and spices. As with her Hummus, Jacqui keeps a bit of texture to her Falafels, and we all happily chomped away on these tasty minxes.



I haven’t mentioned the marvellous Flatbreads that we’d had, yet, which is to do them a huge dis-service! Over the years, we have tried several incarnations of Flatbread from Jacqui, and have been enthralled by them all. This particular evening, there were 2 varieties on offer: Spinach and Sweet Potato. The Spinach one also had cheese in it that formed those irresistible strings as we bit into the bread; I don’t know about you, but I love it when melted cheese does that?! To zhuzh the mashed Sweet Potato up, Jacqui added some honey and spices and this was a total delight of a simple dish.



Usually when we go to Olive, we savour the meaty morsels that are Jacqui’s Chicken and Lamb Tagines - the vegetable one is also very scrummy – but this time we were simply too stuffed to order them! Gutted isn’t adequate to describe how we felt when we realised this fact: we have vowed that we won’t make the same mistake next time we visit!!



Olive is usually open on Friday and Saturday evenings only, though Jacqui does occasionally open on other days. To keep up-to-date with the latest, check out the Facebook page – Olive Moroccan Restaurant – or ring Jacqui on 07864 953341.
Hot Wings happily given here again. Happy 8th Birthday, Olive, here’s to another 8 (and beyond!!).


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