Olives Naturally Indian
With the UK gripped in the midst of a drought and a heatwave, the OCC ventured down the A1 from Peterborough (or across the A421 for those of us finishing work in Milton Keynes) to the town of St Neots to visit Olives Naturally Indian. Would this venue quench our thirst for curry and provide spice to add to the summer heat?
Things started promisingly- a warm welcome from staff outside who hurried one of the delivery drivers away to allow for the Chairman to be offered a parking space right in front of the main entrance! Once inside, the warm welcomes continued and we were shown to our table in a nicely decorated, well laid out restaurant. Poppadoms were duly served to our table, accompanied by an excellent selection of homemade sauces and chutneys. The extensive menu was perused and, due to a slightly smaller group of OCC attendees than normal, a decision was made to have one of the usual two joint dishes as a starter option. It would have been rude not to have sampled the mixed Barbecue Platter and also some of the venue’s own speciality street food with a portion of Bhel Puri. Both dishes were very tasty and well received by the table. The majority of members selected another house special for their starters – Chicken Railway Chilli Fry. The dish was similar in appearance to many chilli paneer dishes that are a familiar favourite in most curry houses, although with crispy chicken strips in place of the grilled cheese. It certainly seemed to go down well with everyone, as did my own starter of Chicken Pakodas which were very juicy and well cooked with a nice batter.
All of the starters were duly polished off – a sure sign of their quality – and we awaited the arrival of the main dishes. Unfortunately, one of the members in attendance had become somewhat attached to the toilet due to an impromptu stomach bug. This meant that, with the selected joint main and sides to share, alongside our individual dishes, there was somewhat of a surplus of food. The shared dish was one of the venue’s regional specialities, Goan Khumbi Chicken. This came served on a sizzling platter that was then extravagantly set alight after being doused in brandy. A spectacularly served dish and it tasted equally good. My personal dish was another of the regional specials, Kolhapuri Garlic Chilli Chicken which had plenty of flavour and a lovely, subtle spiciness. Other dishes around the table varied from milder lamb dishes to a flaming hot chicken phaal and all were eaten with relish. The accompaniments of freshly baked naans and healthy sized rice portions along with sides such as sag aloo ensured that no stomach was left empty. In fact, the aforementioned surplus of food meant that in spite of everyone’s indulgence, there was enough for a substantial doggy bag to be taken home by one member.
With our stomachs (and doggy bags) full, we settled the bill. Including drinks and minus the deposit for the group booking, it worked out at £55 per person with a tip. Fairly expensive but not too bad for value considering the quality of the food, freshness of ingredients and level of service received. Overall, the OCC scored Olives as follows:
• Customer Care = 8.42
• Service = 7.97
• Value = 7.30
• Quality = 8.30
• Atmosphere = 7.25
• Overall = 7.85
A very good and well-deserved score. I look forward to returning and giving the venue its well earned OCC sticker of approval.