Relaxed and friendly wine and tapas bar
Here’s a taste of something new, a blast of Mediterranean sunshine to see us through the last lingering shadows of a long, dark winter.
The Olive Lounge is a dual-purpose venue that is creating quite a buzz in Wickersley. Downstairs is a wine bar with an extensive cocktail list and occasional live music that has quickly found an appreciative clientele.
It is a lively place, ideal for meeting up with friends after work for a midweek drink, while weekends are always extremely busy.
Upstairs is quieter but no less impressive, a Spanish-style restaurant serving tapas and larger dishes, with trappings such as ceramic tiles, polished floorboards and wooden shutters on the windows that can’t help but bring back memories of summer holidays in scorching climates. The Spanish guitar music playing gently in the background when we visited was a nice touch.
An open kitchen added to the cheerful atmosphere, and the large strings of garlic and chillies hanging from the serving hatch suggested that the chefs will take no prisoners when it comes to delivering full-on flavours.
We started our meal with a few selections from the tapas section of the menu, an ideal way to share the experience. Four dishes between two was just about right, as portions are quite generous. Slow braised beef brisket in pepper sauce had a sharp flavour and the meat was so tender it must have fallen clean away from the bone; deep fried squid rings were crisp on the outside and tender within; king prawns in a garlic, chilli and tomato sauce packed just enough heat and the cauliflower fritters were a little different and very moreish.
In such a relaxed and friendly setting it’s best to take your time over the food and, having got into a sharing mood with our tapas starters, we continued the theme and divided our attentions equally between two main courses.
Seeing as we’d already been reminded of sunny holidays in Spain, seafood paella seemed hard to resist and this was a real showstopper, piled high with perfectly cooked rice and generously stuffed with king prawns, calamari and mussels.
We also enjoyed one of the vegetarian mains, roasted aubergine with basil oil, tomato, feta cheese and pine nuts. With a side order of spicy potato wedges and some excellent Spanish wine to sip, this was proving to be a great way to spend a chilly February evening.
The high standards continued with two classic desserts. Crema Catalan is a Spanish take on a French classic, Crème Brulee. Served slightly warm with the thinnest, crispest of crunchy toppings, and infused with zesty orange, it was light and delicious. By way of contrast, chocolate caramel tart was incredibly rich, an indulgent treat that proved too much to finish on the night but provided a decadent breakfast treat the following morning.
Olive Lounge, 169 Bawtry Road, Wickersley, S66 2BW
Tel: 01709 533220