I may have mentioned in previous posts that our family has a tradition on birthdays. From age 18 years, we treat our family to dinner. This was Mum’s way of teaching us to appreciate and enjoy family time. I actually like this tradition, but sometimes, actually ALL THE TIME, it is so difficult to find a dining place that suits everyone’s tastes.
GC decided to head to Oliver’s on James St for his dinner this year. We’ve been here quite a few times before, and have generally always enjoyed it. Plus, it was $15 pizza night and he wanted pizza.
Many in my family need to have some vegetables when dining (myself included), so we ordered the Caprese Salad. The tomatoes were amazingly sweet and fragrant. I always find the use of olive oil a bit excessive in restaurant dishes and this was no exception. Luckily the tomatoes cut through it a bit.
My family are huge fans of calamari. In fact, it’s the only way GC will eat squid. This was actually pretty good! The calamari were coated in a light batter that was well-seasoned. I didn’t have any of the aoili but apparently it tasted a bit weird, and remained largely untouched.
Obviously, we had to get some pizzas! Oliver’s serves up traditional woodfired pizza, and their bases are one of my favourites. The bases are thin, crispy yet chewy at the same time, but also has that lovely char and fragrance from the woodfire. We ordered the Diavola, which was quite akin to the usual pepperoni, a favourite in the family. We also chose the Cajun lamb, which comes with a drizzle of yoghurt. The pizzas were good, but I found there is now increasing less topping. I’m not sure if it was because it was pizza night, or if it’s in general. I remember last time we went, there was also a substantial reduction in the amount of topping too. Nevertheless, still tasty.
With the intention to eat pizza too, my Dad ordered the fish & chips to share with my nan. The size of this dish was quite surprising. It was substantial, but the amount of fish was less than the chips and salad. I didn’t have any of this, but apparently the fish was fried well with thin batter, though nothing outstanding.
Mum ordered the pork belly which came out looking fairly dark and in fact, a bit burnt. The meat was tender, though the crackling was definitely lacking and it was tough and chewy rather than crispy.
Now, in Chinese culture, you must eat noodles on your birthday as it signifies long life. GC completely forgot to eat noodles during lunch, so he ordered a pasta to compensate and make up for the day’s noodle quota. Though quite different from the usual noodles we have, it fit the bill. The ragu was done well and the lamb was nice and tender. There wasn’t a lot of lamb in the dish, but it was still good and the tomatoes added a nice acidic touch to it.
I ordered the salmon which came on a bed of rocket salad. Having been served numerous overcooked salmon in the past, I asked for it to be slightly undercooked and it came out perfect. The meat was flaky and moist. The skin, however, was not crispy as stated but it was still nice because I like salmon skin any way. The dish was slightly underseasoned actually and I would’ve liked more balsamic reduction to cut through the oil though, which ended up seeping into the salad. In the end, I took a lemon wedge from the calamari to squeeze on the salmon.
Overall, there were hits and misses on this occasion at Oliver’s, but the birthday boy enjoyed it which is what’s most important =)
Thanks for reading!! ^^ Stay tuned for the birthday cake!