I had a plan, but it fell through and I had to go quickly to 'Plan B'. This turned out to be a good thing, as 'Plan B' was coffee, which then turned into lunch at The Black Olive, on Kensington Rd, Rose Park. Situated just past the infamous roundabout on Fullarton Rd and not far from the Britannia Hotel, this cafe seems to cater mainly for the offices nearby.
This is not to presume that they rest on their laurels because of this, or that because they cater to this market, they take their standard for granted. Thinking it might be hard to park near there, we (my lunch partner and I), walked a bit of the way; I did say it was actually 'Plan B'. Well, having originally only wished for a coffee or coffee and cake, we decided on lunch when we actually arrived at our destination. We had thought we'd check out something different from The Parade, which is where we most often eventually head to.
We walked into a quite nice little atmosphere, there in the Black Olive Cafe - large inside, but not so large that you feel overwhelmed or that they just want to 'rack 'em, pack 'em and stack 'em' sorta thing, with a corrugated iron counter, muted colours and a kind of room off to the side and brochures and posters advertising upcoming events, the place has a kind of urban, slightly funky feel, but not one that alienates you as a customer.
First thing we saw was really fresh looking, generous cakes that were other than the sort that can be standard fare at some cafes around town. The most massive looking pieces of cigar baklawa, stared me in the eye (and I will be back for some of these, too!) as well as other really delicious and appealing looking cakes that looked fresh and different.
We finally opted for lunch there, as opposed to just the coffee and cake option, as I spied really tasty looking Moussaka. There had been a Pumpkin Frittata, I think, on offer, but it was not yet ready at 11am - I did say we'd gone there for coffee and cake, but when we saw their savoury dishes, we opted for an early lunch. I normally abhor the paltry and inevitable salady garnishes that are offered when you have a quiche, or slice option for lunch but this salad (thought I'd give it a go) was a good Greek style one with a tasty dressing, interesting salad leaves, red tomatoes (as opposed to pink, barely ripe ones) and red onion rings.
The Moussaka (pron. Muhs a ka), was good; light, not too meaty and with zucchini in lieu of the expected eggplant. I trust that this is a version of the theme, as apparently the chef is a well travelled Austrian, and the 'specials board' did feature a predominance of Mediterranean type dishes. The food on offer, was prepared in-house (they do catering as well) and not only looked tasty and colourful, but was. My lunch partner had the Bacon, Pea and Spinach Slice and sounded like she really enjoyed it. She did. It was fresh tasting and was almost the taste of Spring.
I like the Black Olive Cafe, it sits there on Kensington Rd, quite non-committal looking, but has a feistiness all it's own. The decor and food go together to be a vital experience. Service was great and personable and we were asked how we liked everything. Last time I was asked that, it was at a terrible place and the food left really a lot to be desired, but at the Black Olive, it was a pleasure. Try it for something different on the city's outskirts sometime.
For a light, not too expensive lunch (around $10 -$15 for our mains) it was definitely worth the visit. Not too sure where you'd park though. Oops, another website assures me that there is in fact, ample parking! Why not go 'green' and just walk over, across the eastern parklands... go on, when was the last time you did that? The roses are in bloom in the rose garden at Rymill Park. Now, that has to be romantic. Finish your walk with a fine lunch and a glass of wine at the Black Olive Cafe. Oh, yes they do catering as well, so you can have the experience in your office too. Christmas is coming, so terminate your other bookings and try the Black Olive for this season of festivity and good eating.
Did get carried away a bit, didn't I? Really did like the place though, so did my lunch partner. It's so nice to be pleasantly surprised; especially when we'd previously been disappointed by a place a little further up the rd away. The cigar Baklawa looked amazing! Really.
Forgot that I actually needed to correct the fact that the Chef is in fact Greek and not Austrian; this really explains the fabulous Moussaka and wonderful salads with herb pesto. Not to mention the cigar Baklawa!!! Haven't made it back yet for them, but I will return.
Apologies to the Chef and Stavroula, for the mistake.