Are you a person who likes to order everything on the menu? I know I do and I do it all the time. At the conclusion of every meal when I order too much, I tell Yuye to stop me next time so I don’t make the same mistake again. But you know what? It’s useless telling him to do that because I don’t listen! I get too excited when I read a menu for the first time and anything and everything will make me salivate (my new favourite word as Gary Mehigan says on Masterchef ALL the time).
I’m also very greedy, I find all kinds of excuses to tell myself that it’s ok to order a few more things. ‘Don’t worry, we can probably take it away’, ‘I’m very hungry today, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet and it’s already 2pm’ or ‘we’ve already come so far here, it’s a shame to not order another entree…’ are all the things I can say to Yuye as I put on that puppy dog face of mine and watery eyes and then he just goes ‘oh alright then, don’t tell me off later for not warning you.’ I giggle with joy and put all my orders in. Then later I regret! Well, I don’t regret all the time, sometimes I’m glad I ordered a lot and get to take a bit away.
About a week ago, we were lost as to where to eat for lunch. This sparked a decision to go through all of Urbanspoon in neighbouring suburbs and go with something that sounded good. As we had things to do that evening, we didn’t really want to go too far. ‘East Malvern sounds close enough’ I thought to myself and so embarked on our little afternoon journey to L’Olivo, which is rated as the best restaurant in the suburb and it was literally a few stores down from Asakusa. This little family owned restaurant serves up traditional and modern mediterranean delicacies including tapas, pastas and pizzas. As we walked in, I could see many dishes in and on the glass counter. As I took a closer look, they somehow didn’t look too appetising, the lettuce looked limp and dry, the meatballs looked discoloured and there was dirt in what I assumed was churros! I started to question whether I had made the wrong choice. Thankfully at that moment, the waitress walked over and informed me that these were for display purposes only. Phew! That was a big sigh of relief.
As I looked at the menu, my bad habit of ordering too much kicked in again. Two tapas and two mains. It’s not THAT much right? The waitress took our orders and said ‘I’ll bring out the tapas first in case you think it’s too much food’. She said that without me even saying anything! I must have ordered too much. I understood why when the free bread came out. These were big pieces of beautiful ciabatta bread served with fragrant olive oil and olives.
|Complimentary ciabatta bread|
There was no butter though but I was perfectly ok with that because the olive oil was splendid. It made me remember the big 25 litre can of olive oil that dad and my brother Jeff brought back from a small town called Bari in Italy 2 years ago. That was some good olive oil. The bread was so airy and soft as well that I couldn’t get enough of it. The feeling of flour from the crust on my fingers as I grabbed another piece was so indulgent that I would have been satisfied if I didn’t get any more food.
I was still licking my fingers from the flour as the first piping hot tapas was served. Again, I was happy with what was in front of me. Maybe it was the 2pm lighting that made the dish shine or maybe it was the sweet scallop scent that made my mouth water, whatever it was, it came at the right time for I was starving! I was expecting something a bit smaller, but this was good. Bigger was good. The scallops were cooked perfectly. It was juicy, tender and sweet, everything you could ask for. The sauce was actually quite sour, I was glad I didn’t put on extra lemon juice. As with all seafood in my opinion, a slightly sour sauce goes really well with that naturally sweet sea flavour. The mash was great as well as it just soaked up all the remaining sauce and scallop juices.
|Grilled marinated scallops $13|
The second tapas dish wasn’t as big (thankfully), but it wasn’t small either. The prosciutto wrapped haloumi was a bit salty on the palate which was toned down slightly by the lettuce side. However, it was still a little too salty for my liking. I should have expected this though because I’ve ordered similar dishes at other tapas restaurants and they were too salty as well. Just the type of dish I suppose.
|Haloumi wrapped in prosciutto $10.50|
As we finished the tapas, I had a little bit of time to walk around the restaurant and take a few photos of the chef making pizza. I believe pizza is one of the restaurant’s major attractions. I asked if it was ok to take photos of him making the pizza and he replied with a little laugh ‘Sure! But I’m not photogenic’. What are you talking about mister? You look perfectly photogenic to me! So does the pizza. Look at that skill. I would totally just rip holes in all the dough.
So I was a bit slow at taking photos and missed him making our pizza. The one he’s making below is someone else’s as ours didn’t have salami on it. Ours was in the oven! You just have to believe me on that one.
And *drum rolls* our pizza arrived on the table. I almost drooled all over it. No Jenny, behave yourself. I shamefully admit that pizza isn’t one of my favourite dishes so naturally Yuye had ordered this. However, even I loved this pizza. The base was thin, the crust was crunchy and even though there was pesto plonked right in the middle of that base, it wasn’t soggy! Not even after 20 minutes! That is what I call skill.
|Small Reggio pizza $14|
The chicken pieces were succulent and juicy, perfectly cooked in my opinion. The sweet tangy sun-dried tomatoes and fragrant basil gave the pizza well rounded flavours. Simply beautiful. Yuye’s compliment for the pizza was ‘it’s the same standard as +39‘, that’s saying something. More pizza photos below, I just can’t stop looking at them.
My paella came on the table at the same time but I just ignored it as I frantically took photos of the pizza. When I was finally finished, the paella was still so hot that it burnt my mouth. All the other paellas I’ve had in the past were tomato based so when this came out, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be as rich but I was wrong. It was jam packed full of flavour from the mussels, the scallops, the big prawns and everything else that went into it. I was very happy at how it was so full of chunky ingredients that I could see. Visuals is a big thing. I must admit, it wouldn’t have been as good without the squeeze of lemon. A lot of lemon. As it wasn’t tomato based, it just needed that little bit of sour zing to really lift the flavours. And guess what? I really ordered too much food. In the end, I had to take more than half of that paella away (I asked for another wedge of lemon to take with me as well). I don’t regret ordering that much though because Yuye got a little supper out of the leftovers.
I’ve gotten into a habit of ordering coffee after my meal, doesn’t matter how full I was. Really can’t beat a good hot coffee after a meal as it cleanses my palate and my stomach. Their coffee wasn’t the best I’ve had but it wasn’t bad. It would have gone better with a dessert of some sort (like churros!) but that would have been suicide. If my stomach didn’t kill me, Yuye would have.
I loved the warm service, the expertise at making pizzas and really just the whole atmosphere and experience. Oh I also loved the bread, can’t forget that bread and olive oil. I would definitely go back there again, maybe during my next MSY visit, and next time, I will order dessert.
As a side note, as we were finishing up our lovely food, a mum with a toddler behind us ordered desserts and drinks and I was amazed to see the tiny little hot chocolate that they served the child! It was the cutest thing ever but I didn’t feel right to intrude so unfortunately no photo. This made me want to have a baby, just so I can rightly order a miniature hot chocolate with marshmallows and not feel guilty. Ha. I totally didn’t just write that.
So do any of you tend to order too much food like I do?
Phone: (03) 9572 4487
171 Waverley Rd, Malvern East 3145