So you’ve never been to…The Olive E11

In which we choose one of the hottest weekdays of the year to eat on the sun-soaked terrace

Age: Ooh, years and years.

Where exactly is it? Right opposite Leytonstone tube itself. Or, more specifically, the bus station. Which means, as you take a seat on the holiday-like pavement terrace, the evening sun still roaring, you can smugly watch people jostling, queuing and sighing over the road. With a glass of wine in hand.

Sweltering: The Olive. Photo: SE

Be careful: that’s called hubris. So what should I eat? It’s a typically Mediterranean grill-centric menu, with generous portions. Famished, we made a slight over-ordering error, plumping for the ‘two person meat mezze feast’. At £36.95, it did (to be fair) turn out to be a mountain of food: to start, a riches-packed sharing plate of hummus, tzatziki, saksuka (roasted veg), minced lamb pastry, hunks of dry spicy sausage, and mucver, battered, deep fried patties made from grated squash with dill. Obviously lots of pitta, too.

And for mains? Thankfully there was a bit of a wait – the place was jumping on the sizzling Thursday night – before another plate arrived. Cue more carnivorous delights: lamb shish (a highlight), tender chicken, adana kebab (spicy minced lamb), wings, lamb ribs, rice and salad. We did, nonetheless, manage to polish it all off.

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The interior? It’s airy and fairly unadorned, all wooden chairs, polished floor and the joyous racket of popularity.

Simple interior and sunny throughout. Photo: SE

And what do I drink? We’re more than partial to Yakut, the dryish, easygoing Turkish red – and here it’s good value at £16.95.

What’s the service like? Pleasant, if leisurely. So slow, in fact, that we ordered an additional two glasses of wine – which came as unrequested large ones (although we were having way too nice a time to correct them).

Do say: ‘This is one of the buzziest places in the postcode.’

Don’t say: ‘Christ! I’ve only got half an hour.’

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The Olive, open daily, 25-27 Kirkdale Road, E11 1HP, more here
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