Mediterranean food meets Hong Kong’s Soho at Olive
In a city as densely populated (and as food-orientated) as Hong Kong, you know a restaurant has got to be top-notch to last. Well, despite the rent of Soho steadfastly skyrocketing, and our taste buds continually developing, Olive, Greek & Middle Eastern has gone from strength to strength for over a decade!
As yet another staple option from Dining Concepts, Olive offers classic Middle Eastern food with a modern twist, in a relaxed, convenient location. Set slap bang in the middle of Soho, the cosy restaurant is in a prime location for our perpetually hungry city-goers. Although the classic décor is slightly dated, I like that the importance isn’t placed on trying to look cool. I mean, they’ve been around for over a decade, mamas, they clearly know what they’re doing.
Whilst offering food true to Greek and Middle Eastern roots, the food here also takes into account the melting-pot aspect of Hong Kong, tying in Michelin celebrity chef, Greg Malouf’s Australian take on the cuisine. As the chef who helped put together the original Olive menu, we were looking forward to great things from the man himself! With rumours that Malouf is the “master of modern Middle Eastern food”, I was definitely excited to try his contemporary blend of cuisines.
And it’s official: he had me at fondue.
That’s right, mamas, Malouf’s menu offers a Haloumi & Fontina cheese Fondue that was good enough to make me head back over there (twice) since. It doesn’t get much better than a heavenly dish of hot, gooey cheese – especially when the intense, salty flavours are perfectly paired with the delicate sweetness of homemade, melt-in-your-mouth milk bread. To top it all of, the slight kick of chilli, and tang of lemon manage to slice right through what could have, otherwise, been a slightly overwhelmingly rich dish. Whilst I am one of those people who (enthusiastically) asks for extra cheese on almost everything, this dish really does add a twist to classic flavours – which is exactly what Olive is all about. To sum it up, my newfound love now comes in the form of fondue. Yes, I’m aware I’ve just written an entire paragraph about the greatness of a mound of cheese, but honestly… I could polish off the entire dish myself and leave with no regrets.
From the cooling humus (as a starter to the starters), and a refreshing Lemon Posset for dessert, Olive’s new menu definitely caters to this city’s summer months. If you’re really looking to escape the Hong Kong heat, a table favourite was the Burrata with Baby Beet, plump tomatoes, za’atar and pomegranate. Pomegranate in anything and I’m (almost) instantly sold. Another Mezza we enjoyed was the Turkish style Kofta, set within a dish of baked eggs, spinach, chilli and yoghurt. Though I would have loved a bit more yogurt, the spinach really did top it all off.
The tangy Lemon Posset was a hit. With orange blossom (read: extra sticky candy floss) and camel-shaped honey-caramel wafer, the dessert offers a unique blend of textures and tastes. Keen to finish off the meal with something sweeter than lemon? I’d recommend a classic: the pavlova with chocolate mousse and fresh strawberries. Though it’s not quite the traditional mediterranean dessert you may expect, it’s pretty universally accepted that merengue makes for a great end to a night.
Chef Greg Malouf has done great things with Olive’s new menu, and I can’t wait to see how they continue to develop dishes, merging core flavours with playful, experimental ingredients. My only request: never take that cheese fondue off the menu.
Olive, Greek & Middle Eastern, 32 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, 2521 1608