Lancashire Life Luncheon - The Olive Tree Brasserie, Lytham St Annes
PUBLISHED: 09:50 26 March 2014 | UPDATED: 22:05 21 October 2015
Sunshine and delicious dishes of sustainable fish warm guests at Lancashire Life's April luncheon, writes Rebekka O'Grady
Guests left chilly Lancashire behind and spent a couple of hours basking in the warm glow of life in the Mediterranean during a visit to The Olive Tree in Lytham St Annes. This Lancashire Life luncheon introduced our guests to a delicious mix of Greek and Mediterranean food, the speciality of this independent, family-owned restaurant which opened in 2007. since then it has become a successful dining destination.
The restaurant and bar is classically decorated, with sleek black chairs and tables lining the room. These compliment the olive green leather booths. Bright and airy, two walls of the restaurant are taken up by large windows, adorned with twinkling fairy lights, which reflectsoff the mirrored surfaces, providing an upmarket feel of city sophistication.
As guests arrived each was given a flute of champagne dressed with an exotic physalis berry.
Head chef, Louis Denyer, 28, wants his diners to enjoy traditional Greek food but with a twist. ‘We always aim to go to the next level, increasing our standards,’ he said. ‘The team are passionate about quality and service, and we bounce ideas off one another. Once you have a strong foundation you can only go up.’
Louis’s favourite dish to cook is the classic Greek kleftico, which we would get to sample later on. ‘Although it is such a traditional dish, I like to put my own angle on it.’ The Olive Tree is all about pushing the boundaries - it was officially the first independent restaurant in the north to become certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, helping to support sustainable fish stocks.
Owner Dean Wilson, 28, from Lytham, said: ‘I’m really passionate about using ingredients that are sustainable to our environment. I used to go fishing a lot with my Dad, and since then I have endeavoured to use produce that I know isn’t impacting negatively on the environment.’
The restaurant has also recently expanded and launched a deli range. ‘When we first opened The Olive Tree, I saw there was a gap in the market for a top-class Greek restaurant. Now, we’re seizing the opportunity to branch out with our homemade goods. We have 100s of recipes - our house dressing has been tweaked over years.’ Each guest received a goodie bag with a tub of houmous and balsamic dressing to sample at home.
For starters, we all tucked into halloumi loukaniko (halloumi cheese and Greek sausage). The cheese was lightly grilled and complimented the slightly spicy sausage. A fresh, crunchy salad accompanied the dish and was drizzled in the sweet, house balsamic dressing. Suitably warmed, we eagerly awaited the second course which was a choice of arni kleftiko (tender shoulder of lamb on the bone slow roasted with garlic and herbs, Greek-style roast potatoes and tzatziki) or skrei,a sustainable member of the cod family baked in cream and tarragon sauce with roast vegetables. Guests commented on how the fresh the skrei was, and what a refreshing change to have something different. Both the skrei and kleftiko were well received with guests commenting on the quality and tenderness of the lamb.
Dessert was baklava, layers of filo pastry filled with pistachios, walnuts and honey, topped with vanilla ice cream. It was sweet, yet savoury, and completely delectable.
Back onto the streets of St Annes the Lancashire weather hadn’t improved but the warm glow from The Olive Tree somehow made up for it.
Halloumi Loukaniko (Halloumi cheese and Greek loukaniko sausage, sweet balsamic dressing)
Arni Kleftico (Tender shoulder of Lamb on the bone slow roasted with garlic and herbs, greek style roast potatoes, tzatziki)
Skrei baked with a cream and tarragon sauce, seasonal Mediterranean style roast vegetables
Baklava with vanilla ice cream
Olive Tree Brasserie, 29 Wood Street, Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire FY8 1QG
Tel: 01253 788222, www.olivetreebrasserie.co.uk