We were SO EXCITED to spy a Toowoomba restaurant we hadn't been to before. Mochi and I were having Thai one day and thought 'hey... what's that?'
Olive Branch looked like a bar slash cafe from the outside but when we decided to eat there one night, we discovered it was more like a fine dining restaurant.
There is a bar area near the front but we were seated further down, deep in the restaurant section.
The menu was also different to what I expected. I thought there would be a focus on Mediterranean food (ahem, pasta) but instead, the dishes were very much my idea of modern Australian.
We ordered the dinner rolls with whipped butter and EVOO to start with. Because we were starving, the rolls were practically devoured within 5min of being set on the table.
They were soft and warm and great with the butter. The balsamic vinegar component of the olive oil was almost jam-like in flavor - strange but I kinda liked it.
Chicken - with quince, pistachio & prosciutto chicken supreme, pommes dauphinoise, fennel & jus gras
Byron broke our rule of never ordering chicken at restaurants and ordered the chicken. It did little to dispell our myth that all restaurant chicken is dry. This one was very dry. Our theory is that they are so terrified of food poisoning their customers that they'd rather go over than under... which might be more legally responsible but not so exciting for our taste buds.
I chose the lamb. It was also dry, which is a shame because that's NOT something I expect in restaurants.
The sides were good (especially the baby beets) and the sauce was yummy but they couldn't save the lamb from being dry and rubbery.
Mochi's main was the rabbit cannelloni. I had a small taste and thought it was great! I wished I had ordered this instead. However, Byron ended up eating half of this and said it was OK to start with but had a weird aftertaste.
Although our stint with the mains was less than impressive, we are not easily deterred from ordering dessert. I think I need to be food poisoned before I can be persuaded to ignore my sweet tooth.
Mochi ordered a coffee cake from the window. It was a plain roulade served with cream and fresh strawberries. I quite liked it but it wasn't anything special. At least it wasn't stale like many sponge-based cakes get by the end of the day.
Byron and I hedged all bets on the assiette of chocolate for two. I liked working through this platter of miniatures... our favorite was the creme brulee.
The tart filling was nice but the pastry was dry. The souffle was too eggy.
I really wanted to like the Olive Branch but the food was just under par. It wasn't a matter of 1 disappointing dish, nearly everything was flawed. I doubt we'll be going back. In terms of service, it was great until they got a bit busier and we were left without water after asking for some 3 times. What was really lovely though is that they realized this mistake, apologized and gave us complimentary bottled water.