Great food all round but was disappointed by the noisy atmosphere

Gladys and Charlie visit THE OLIVE GROVE in Bury St Edmunds

Greek restaurant
90 St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1SQ.
Telephone 01284 663085
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, noon to 10pm
Email bury@the-olivegrove.co.uk
We just love trying out new restaurants when they open in Bury St Edmunds, the food capital of Suffolk.
So when The Olive Grove began operating in the town just a matter of a few week’s ago, Monday, September 26, to be precise, we couldn’t resist the temptation.
Joint owners and couple, George Kontakos, 38, and Francesca Behjat, 39, established their first award-winning branch of The Olive Grove, in Cambridge.
The restaurant was voted the best Mediterranean diner in England in 2019 and was a finalist for the best restaurant in Cambridge in both 2017 and 2018.
It boasts to offer “classic, simple, great food” and all totally fresh.
However, it doesn’t come cheap and the two of us ate out on a three-course meal which included drinks for a little under £120.
Now, you wouldn’t be wrong to expect a great experience at that price but to be honest we were a tad disappointed.
Not that the food was below par, although I have to say my Kleftico was a bit bland, but the atmosphere was the key issue for us.
We may have gone on a night which was not representative of the restaurant but it was so noisy and diners sitting nearby were, like us, straining over the table to hear each other talk. And it was even difficult to clearly hear what our waitress was sometimes saying to us.
The Olive Grove has been set up in the former Jaeger shop and it has a very low ceiling so any noise is amplified. It’s early days but let’s hope that the owners can get it sorted.
However, the welcome to the restaurant was very friendly and you cannot fail to notice the bright lights of the location as soon as you approach it along St John’s Street.
The lighting inside, to our taste, is a bit bright but it has been created in a very tasteful manner with authentic-looking Greek pots dotted around in some of the crevices.
After settling down to have a rhubarb and ginger gin and tonic and a Greek Alpa beer we both decided to go for the Calamari Tiganito (pictured above) served with mint and garlic mayo to start which was marvellous.
It’s one of a number of signature dishes at the restaurant and it lived up to all expectations as being absolutely wonderful.
It came superbly presented on a “shell like” dish and was extremely tasty.
Now we chose our starter and delayed picking our main courses and our waitress took away the menu, which was not totally helpful. After we finished the Calamari our dishes were taken away but we had to call on our waitress for the return of the menus.
I then ordered my Kotsi Kleftico, (pictured above) which came with seasoned vegetables including broccoli, baby potatoes and herbs, which was very nice but didn’t quite set my particular taste buds alight.
Gladys had a Kofta (pictured above) which consisted of a lamb and a beef kebab along with potato wedges, pitta bread, green salad and a tomato dip. It looked and tasted really good, and we washed it all down with a bottle of traditional Greek Sauvignon.
We then went on to share an extremely tasty Baklava (pictured above) which was light and nutty before we finished off our meal with two coffees.
I’m glad we experienced The Olive Grove. It was busy and all the tables were full but the ambience of the establishment was not to our liking.
However, don’t be put off by our visit to the restaurant as their menu has much to choose from and maybe it might be a bit quieter when you go.

russell Author