Olive Tree House

Saturday evening and Olive Tree House was fully booked.  Simply decorated with large photos of old olive trees decorating the walls, the restaurant has a warm ambiance that is enhanced by the delicious aromas coming from the open kitchen.  The staff were delightful – attentive, friendly and easily managing the needs of the guests.

FOOD
After sitting, we were brought a carafe of mint/lemon water and a selection of bread with a dipping bowl of olive oil/balsamic vinegar.scallops
Entrees:
Grilled Scallops (€14.50) – perfectly cooked scallops served on a marinated salad of carrot, mushroom and zucchini and decorated with truffle (grated and oil).  All entrée descriptions looked delicious, but for us this was the winner.  Beautifully presented and delectable.
Mains:
Fresh Fried Calamaris (€18.50) –  in a delicate batter and combined with marinated grilled peppers.  This delicious mix of octopus and peppers was dressed in a basil pesto and served on a potato cake.  Wonderful combination and the best calamari I have tasted ever.
Roasted Lamb (€21.50) – succulent pieces of lamb, accompanied by artichoke hearts and mixed in a sauce of lemon juice, greek yogurt and herbs.
Desserts:
Bougatsa(€7.50) – this traditional greek pastry decorated with cream and cinnamon.  Light and moreish.
Greek Yogurt (€8.00)and Figs cooked in brandy – delicious combination of flavours and a wonderful end to a meal.

SUMMARY:  An amazing dining experience with delicious food and great service. Our total bill with a beer9€3), a glass of wine(€4), a bottle of Mancura (house) wine (€20) and a AH voucher for a free 3-course meal came to €72.50 (without voucher: €105.50).

lambfigs

Effen Grijs – Wow!

This week we visited Effen Grijs – as part of the AH restaurant deal arrangement (pay for one three course meal and the second is gratis). Although asked what we did not want to eat, we were not given a menu and left to the whims of the chef. Thank God. The meal was absolutely beautiful!! Entree was thin slices of swordfish topped with caviar, capers,chervil and samphire. Main meal was a divine slice of slow roasted pork with a red endive mix salad. Dessert was based on the summer taste of peaches, complimented by yogurt, ice-cream and compote. The chef is an artist. The serving staff are professional. The interior is simply elegant. Total cost including a bottle of Spanish tempranillo, two glasses of prosecco (yes we were celebrating!), two three course meals (one gratis but with a€5 surcharge for the cheese platter instead of the dessert) = €70. Highly recommended!!

Ohm – oh, mmm

ganesh

For the last five years I have walked past Ohm – a tiny restaurant on Haarlem’s busy, restaurant strip on Langeveerstraat. During this time restaurants on this strip have come and gone, yet Ohm continues to hold its position. Ohm never seems to be busy and most people I asked have never heard of it. It was also the only place I could get a same day reservation for 7pm on Friday night.
Ohm offers a menu of both Indian and Surinamese dishes. The restaurant décor is Indian-style, including a small statue of Ganish overlooking our table. On this particular Friday night the atmosphere was relaxed, almost quiet with a total of six people dining during our 90minute visit.

Food
We started with papadums (€1.50) and pakoras (€4.75). Staple dishes served without flourish.
Main meals were served with basmati rice.
Lamb Danshak (€14.50) – lamb pieces cooked in a lentil curry sauce. Lamb pieces were succulent. Curry sauce was mild and homely.
Palak Paneer (€11.50) – paneer blocks in a creamy spinach sauce. This dish is a personal favourite. Ohm’s version met basic expectations of this vegetarian staple.

Overall
Our total bill, including a bottle of french chardonnay, came to €46.25. The food was fine. The restaurant was comfortable. The service was friendly – although absent were the usual touches found in many Indian restaurants like warm plates and a heated tray for dishes. Cheap and cheerful eating, although not somewhere to head to for a special evening out or for a culinary adventure.

ohm

Barends: So much more than Fish & Chips!!

Opened in 2011, Barends Restaurant is popular with seafood lovers. Last weekend during our second visit to Barends, we again indulged in the warmth of this lovely restaurant while being treated to delicious food.barends

FOOD
Entrées:
prawnsCoquilles (Scallops): three scallops each served on their own shell and prepared to achieve a unique taste sensation. Amazing.
Gambas (Prawns): Large prawns cooked in a thai sweet chilli sauce and served in between the folds of a pappadum. The freshness of the prawns was obvious, althougth something (perhaps fresh herbs) was missing from the sauce. Remained pleasing in taste and presentation.

Mains: served with separate bowls of salad and fries.
Zeewolf (Sea Wolf, Catfish): succulent generous portion of fish topped with an olive and tuna tapenade. Good combination of flavors. Fish cooked perfectly.
Trio van Vis: fillets of Red Poon (snapper), Dorade (bream) and Sea Bass. The taste of the individual fillets apparent and appreciated. One fillet contained bones to attest to its freshness and slow down the pace of dining.mains

Desserts:
Crème Brulee: a personal favourite – of high standard.
Lemon Quark Tart: decorated with dark chocolate dribbles and providing a lovely end to the meal.

dessert

Overall: The restaurant is spacious, allowing diners to converse easily. Staff members successfully met that difficult point of being professional, yet knowledgeable and friendly. The food looked and tasted fantastic – and our choice of a french bottle of sauvignon blanc (€19.50) smoothly accompanied the meal. After dessert we were treated to tasty local digestives (from Ijmuiden). Unbelievably, the evening was covered by a Social Deal arrangement – €17 per person for a three-course meal with for unlimited choices from the menu.
Voucher or not – this was a wonderful Haarlem dining experience.  http://restaurantbarend.nl/