Saturday, 1 February 2014

Oliver's on James Street

Happy Chinese New Year! So I guess you're wondering why I'm having Italian food on Chinese New Year? Well the answer is...I don't know. I guess, we had the big Chinese New Year eve dinner with the family the night before, dad and mum were both working tonight, in-laws are overseas and we were in Northbridge and wanted to utilise the Entertainment Book, is that good enough?

Oliver's on James Street has been around for as long as I can remember and is one of the those restaurants I like to go every 1-2 years just so I can use the Entertainment Book and also because the quality of the food has always been good. 

At 6pm on a Friday night, they only had a few tables occupied and the waitress told us we could sit anywhere we wanted. I chose the table by the window overlooking James Street and were told we need to leave by 7:30pm which was fine because hubby and I prefer to eat and go. We chose our meal quickly and had to wave the waitress over to take our order.

Our order
Tapas Plate (Marinated olives, wild mushroom & truffle arancini, sauteed chorizo, baby spinach & feta cheese, tempura prawns, Turkish bread & dips, salt & pepper calamari, one of chefs tapas of the day) $33.50
Fillet Steak (Sweet potato dauphiose, local tiger prawns with a shallot, mustard and black peppercorn butter, steamed greens) $37
Half Oliver's and Half Diavola Wood Fired Pizza (Oliver's - wood roasted Mediterranean vegetables, goats cheese & pine nuts / Diavola - spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella, capsicum, olives & chilli) $24

Food and presentation - 3/5
The food at Oliver's tonight was not as good as I remembered it to be. The tasting plate had everything I usually love about tasting plates: bread and dips, chorizo, feta and olives but it also had arancini balls, tempura prawns, calamari and gazpacho. I started off with the gazpacho which was way too acidic for myliking and hoped this wasn't a sign of the standard for tonight (unfortunately, it was somewhat a sign). The presentation of the arancini balls was a bit substandard as they were different sizes, quite small and not even round but luckily they tasted great. The dips were not bad, there was a red onion, tzatziki and mushroom dip with our favourite being the red onion dip. The rest of the tasting plate was not bad but became a bit too salty after a while and I was very disappointed with the lack of feta (there were only a few tiny pieces).
Tapas Plate $33.50

Hubby ordered the fillet steak which was cooked a perfect medium rare and well seasoned. The vegetables complemented the steak and were nicely done and the dish was well presented. My only complaint was that the potato crispy bits on the top were not very crispy.
Fillet Steak $37
My pizza however was a bit disappointing, I was expecting a nice wood fired pizza but I got a mediocre pizza with way too much topping and a base so thin that it soaked up a lot of moisture from the toppings and became a little soggy. The Mediterranean  vegetables were also a bit disappointing, one would expect the vegetables to be at least slightly roasted being woodfired and all but it didn't even look or taste a little bit roasted. I preferred the Diavola to the Oliver's and as I couldn't finish the pizza (I could only manage 2 slices), we took the rest home and it was actually better overnight and reheated.
Half Oliver's and Half Diavola Wood Fired Pizza $24
Service - 3/5
The service was mediocre, we were told that we have to leave at 7:30pm but at 7:15pm our mains had still not arrived so I said to the waitress there is no way that we will be able to be out by 7:30pm and was happy to move to a different table, in which she said 'oh you don't need to move anymore.' Well, I don't know if I'm being picky but I don't really like being anxious and watching the clock when I go out, most of the time if I am told I need to leave by a certain time, I get served quickly and don't have to ask for things, so I really would've appreciated it if the waitress came back and told me that we were able to stay as long as we liked. My other complaints were that the staff were not exactly friendly or attentive and it would be appreciated if they actually tell you what dips were on the tasting plate and what the chef's tapas of the day was instead of having to wave them over again so I could ask.

Atmosphere and decor - 4/5
Oliver's on James Street has a nice relaxed atmosphere, is great for people watching (we saw some girls in very little material walking around...) and as the night progressed a lovely buzz developed. I liked the simple decor and the wood fire pizza oven on display, nothing fancy but the decor fits the type of restaurant that it is. If you get a choice, ask for a window seat.
Value for money - 3.5/5
Not taking into account the Entertainment Book discounts, the prices are pretty reasonable for the quality of food, service, atmosphere and location. After the Entertainment Book discount, I would give it a 4/5.

Taste Test Total Score 13.5/20

Address: 160 James St, Northbridge WA 6003
Telephone: (08) 9228 8725
Reservations: Yes

Opening times
Monday to Thursday: 5pm - 9:30pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30am - 10pm
Sunday: 11:30am - 9:30pm
Open most Public Holidays

Oliver's on James Street on UrbanspoonEntertainment Book 2013/2014 Information
Section A - Fine and Contemporary Dining
Page - A98
Offer - 25% off the total bill up to $40