Mediterranean Cuisine at Todd English Olives

William Todd English is an American celebrity chef that best known for his TV cooking show, Food Trip with Todd English, on PBS. Last Thursday I got a chance to review his Todd English’s Olives restaurant in Venetian Village, Ritz Carlton Canal, Abu Dhabi. The restaurant’s name is a tribute to his then-wife, Olivia.

The restaurant’s concept is Mediterranean cuisine with a strong influence from Italian cuisine. A staff named Bojana warmly welcomed us, and we really enjoyed her company. She was knowledgeable about the dishes served to us and passionately explained every details of the menu. From the beginning i knew she loved her job.

Location
Located in the Venetian Village of Ritz Carlton, the restaurant was easily accessible yet offered a nice retreat from the buzzing life of Abu Dhabi. There were valet service also an ample parking spaces available near the venue so we could quickly park our car. Sheik Zayed Mosque was visible from the access road to the Venetian Village, while Qaryat al Beri can be seen from across the strait.

Ambiance
Inside the restaurant, customers sat around several tables and, although we can hear the chitter-chatter, the noise level is low so we could have comfortable conversation. In fact, I suspected that our table was the loudest one that night, thanks to our energetic #babydei. The restaurant had both outside and inside tables and I guess it would be nice to sit outside when the weather permits.

Food and Drink
We had Beef Carpaccio, Sweet Potato Brava’s, Seared Duck Foie Gras Steak and Beetroot Carpaccio as the starters. All were my favorite but the most interesting menu was Beef Carpacio. It had different style from the carpaccio that I usually ate before. It consisted of 3 layers of filling: gorgonzola rosti (potato) cake, mix greens, and beef, and springkled with balsamic dressing. The ingredients perfectly blended and gave a unique mouth watering experience. Sweet potato brava, covered with honey, had a really sweet taste, the jalapeno paste yielded a dash of spiciness while the feta cheese added a savoury flavour. As for their Foie Gras, a popular and well-known delicacy in French Cuisine, I can only say it was outstanding especially because it’s served with blinis. The liver tasted rich, buttery, and delicate. It was more than delicious, and my mouth was watering as I described it here🙊

For the pasta, I chose Baked Ricotta Ravioli, Portobello Pizza, Scallops Vol-Au-Vent and Prime Beef Tenderloin for the entrees. The ravioly was good, while the tasty portobello pizza specially baked from housemade dough was a perfect choice if you were a vegan. The portobello mushroom tasted tender and meaty, I love it. But my favorite entree was the Scallop Vol-Au-Vent, the dish had a number of layers: the scallop, puff pastry cup, cauliflower puree, spinach with lemon butter sauce. Besides its taste, the most important factor to value seafood dishes is their texture, and the scallop was cooked with perfect timing so the texture was chewy but not too cheewy.

After the entree, eventhough my stomach was almost full, i didn’t loose my appetite for dessert. Chef Jaime Mendoza proudly presented his housemade desserts consisted of Red Velvet Cake, Creme Brulee, Tiramisu and Panna Cotta. The tasting platter was too pretty to eat. But I ate it anyway!

This restaurant also served espresso so my husband requested for a double espresso. He said that the coffee was rich and bitter, with a hint of sourness of arabica. As for myself, I chose a glass of the chamomile tea, because I wasn’t really a coffee fan.

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