date of visit: Sunday 5 January 2014
Let’s not beat about the bush – Olive Green Kitchen, a tiny Indian restaurant in Belair gets a bit of a caning on Urbanspoon. Something of a veteran user of crowd sourced reviews, I know to take them with a pinch of salt and to discard reviews at either end of the spectrum and to give less weight to those reviews which are the contributor’s only contribution to a site.
Even so, I ummed and aahed about Olive Green, particularly because so many of the dismissive reviews came from customers who had used a group buying voucher … which was exactly what I intended to buy. In the end, we decided that $39 for dinner was worth the gamble.
If you’re a long time reader, you’ll know that not only do I love a bit of a bargain but I also regard vouchers and deals as excellent ways of gaining the true measure of a venue. If a restaurant is any good, then the management will be taking the opportunity to convert people into return customers. A rubbish experience? Well, they’ve got your money once, but the damage is done – and the chances are you’ll tell your friends.
One of the Urbanspoon criticisms is that people have found it very hard to book tables with their vouchers. The voucher I purchased had both a very narrow booking window and a very narrow using window, which was complicated by bookings closing on 27 December. I did have to ring a couple of times (and, forewarned, I did actually make note of when I called!) and I did find that my call wasn’t returned but I did make a booking without quite the hassle I was expecting.
Now, as we were dining out with the toddler in tow, we made our booking for 5:30pm on a Sunday so when we arrived the restaurant was empty and we had no problem with slow service. We were seated, our orders were taken promptly and food arrived in a timely fashion. How things function at a busier time, I cannot say.
The voucher we had bought entitled us to a shared entrée, with main courses of our choice served with rice and naan, desserts and glasses of wine (you can see why we were prepared to risk $39 on the exercise!). The great thing about this kind of deal is that we can share the entrée with the toddler and not need to buy him his own main course.
The platter consisted of onion bhajis, pakoras, chicken tikka, seekh kebab and fish amritsari. This was generally pretty good – it was let down by the fish amritsari which was really quite bland and also watery (I’d put money on it being frozen fish) and the chicken was a little dry, but the seekh kebab was a big hit with the toddler and we both enjoyed the bhajis and pakoras. The platter was served with a simple salad (that was a lot better than the sad lettuce leaf that often accompanies these things!) and some mint chutney and mango chutney.
For main course, I chose the beef masala. Well, I say ‘chose’ – in reality, the toddler announced he wanted beef and this looked like a reasonably mild choice (he’s not quite up to a vindaloo!). Andy picked the lamb roganjosh. OUr main courses came with rice, naan and, of course, we were munching our way through pappadums.
The main courses were really good. The meat was tender, the two sauces were not only different heats but also tasted different, and while the portion sizes weren’t massive, they were certainly ample. The naan wasn’t bad at all (perhaps not quite as puffy and crisp as it is in some places) but the pappadums were a little greasy. Overall, it was a more than fair spread of food.
Our deal also included dessert which is not normally something I’d for. In the past I’ve found Indian sweets far too sweet and, anyway, by the time I’ve scoffed a curry and a naan I’m always far too full to consider it.
But, this time, in the interests of ‘research’ I stretched myself. OUr waitress brought three mango kulfis to the table: umbrella shaped ice creams that sat atop little handles to stop the drips. The toddler thought it was Christmas (an ice cream shaped like an umbrella? whooooooah!) and even I really enjoyed it. Given this is my only experience of mango kulfi, I’m not sure I should pass judgement on how excellent or otherwise it was – but it was extremely tasty!
For $39 we thought our dinner was excellent value for money. We’d be happy to go back, either on a deal like this, or just as ‘normal’ customers (admittedly, we’d probably just have mains in that case).
This restaurant illustrates perfectly why you need to exercise just a touch of critical thinking when using social review sites. After all, there’s nothing quite like finding out for yourself …
Olive Green Kitchen
Shop 1a 16 Main Rd
Belair SA 5052
phone: 08 8278 8366