Dining out with a nut allergy can sometimes be daunting, but at Olive Tree Towcester, my mind was put at ease.
This Turkish and Mediterranean Restaurant first opened in my hometown a year or so ago. I’d heard great reviews and seen the odd photo of friends dining there on Instagram, but I haven’t given it a second thought, due to its busy on-road location.
Olive Tree has two restaurants, one in Towcester (where I had the pleasure of dining) and another in Milton Keynes). Both restaurants are easy to access, with their Towcester venue sitting alongside the A5 with free parking across the road. From outside, Olive Tree Towcester doesn’t give anything away, however, once venturing in, my eyes caught sight of the dozens of Moroccan low lit lamps hanging from the ceiling, creating a mood of comfort, intimacy and even romance. My partner and I were instantly exported from Towcester High Street to Turkey and we were soon enjoying a little taste of the Med.
When booking a restaurant, my first port of call is to always get in touch via email regarding an allergens menu. My partner, who I was dining out with, is severely allergic to nuts, so seeing restaurants accommodate allergies is always reassuring for the both of us. Within an hour, I had received a reply which explained there were many suitable dishes at Olive Tree and to let our waiter/waitress know about the allergy when we arrived. Impressed by their prompt and somewhat personal response, I emailed back to book our table – 7:30pm on a Wednesday evening.
Wednesday evening arrived and we had planned on taking a nice walk up to Olive Tree from our home, however the weather was wet and miserable and after straightening my hair…there was no other option but the car.
After pulling up into the spacious and nearby parking and pacing inside from the hammering rain, we were warmly welcomed into the Mediterranean themed restaurant. Even though the restaurant wasn’t busy, we were impressed that our waitress knew my name and mentioned my partner’s nut allergy whilst we took our seats. She advised that he stay clear of certain dishes due to them being prepared in close proximity to dishes such as Ottoman Beef Stew and Baklava, which all contain nuts. We were also advised not to have their freshly baked bread (which was prepared in a separate area for other allergen reasons). We were a little disappointed about this, however our waitress brought out their gluten free bread which was made at another nut free station. Overall, Olive Tree’s notable process to all allergens was top of their game, which is absolutely vital in this day and age.
Once we had all of the important stuff out of the way, we were keen to order drinks and begin our dining experience properly. My overly generous sweet tooth lead me to order the Turkish Delight cocktail (I thought I should experience it as we were in a Turkish restaurant), made with Vodka, passion fruit and an ungodly amount of sugar syrup). If I’m honest, I made a bad decision…it was definitely too sweet for my liking! My partner ordered the Pornstar Martini which was made to perfection and included a deliciously refreshing shot of Prosecco.
After a complementary array of olives, sauces and gluten free bread to share, we began delving into the diverse array of dishes on offer and picked out our starters and mains. My partner and I made the easy decision to share a Mixed Hot Mezze starter, ensuring we tried as many Turkish delicacies as possible. I’m not the best with trying new flavours, but I took this opportunity to try everything on offer and took mouthfuls of the authentic cuisine before scanning for what hidden ingredients were inside. The Borek, Falafel, Sucuk and Halloumi were presented to us on one plate, almost too good to eat…almost. With every generous mouthful, I was overwhelmed with the flavours that complemented each other to a tee. If you ever find yourself in Olive Tree, I highly recommend this starter for two people.
Our main courses were just as tasty and although rice isn’t something you’d usually rave about in a restaurant review - I’ve never had rice which tasted so flavoursome and delicious. My Yogurt Kebab delivered on its spicy flavour with the chefs special tomato and butter sauce that balanced the dish out perfectly. My partner’s choice of charcoal grilled tender chicken and lamb shish with Adana arrived beautifully presented but after our starter and complementary sides, we were both overwhelmed by the mammoth promotions in front of us - probably doable if you hadn’t already eaten.
However, this didn’t mean that I wasn’t interested in the dessert menu. There seems to be another stomach for dessert, even when your starter and main felt like it fills you up to 100%…I’m not too sure on the science behind the theory but it’s something worth looking into.
Olive Tree had a classic dessert menu, filled with Sundae’s, Cheesecakes and Chocolate Fondant, but what struck my eye was the famous Turkish dessert from Gaziantep city…Baklava!
A sweet pastry made of layers of filo dough, filled with nuts, chopped pistachios and sweetened with honey syrup.
For the restaurant review, I thought it was only right to order this traditional Turkish dish so you could get a well-rounded idea of what Turkish delicacies Olive Tree has to offer. My partner, with a nut allergy completed his meal with a diet coke whilst I delved into my Baklava.
Wow, I’m usually more of a chocolatey person but this dessert has converted me. Layers of filo dough started melting in my mouth, joined by the honey syrup and crunch of chopped pistachios.
Overall, the hours spent at Olive Tree Towcester were delightful. With welcoming staff, a beautiful ambiance, memorising food and an allergen policy to be proud of. Our experience of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine was like none other.
Website address: www.olivetreerestaurants.co.uk
Address: 1 London Road, Towcester, NN12 6AJ
Phone: 01908 691414