My second visit to Cafe Oliv made me a little worried. It was Saturday night at 8pm, peak dinner hour, and we were the ONLY customers there for most of the duration. Not a good sign. I remembered the food was reasonably good at decent prices. Had the food standard deteriorated?
Well, I tried the lamb shank (S$17.90) - a truly generous hunk of tender lamb sitting atop a bed of creamy mash, and heavily doused with gravy. I'm not a connoiseur of this dish but this was not too bad. Very flavourful. Gave little Nadine her first taste of lamb and she relished every bite.
We also shared a seafood linguine (S$11.90), which hubby enjoyed. I thought it was all right but the cream got to me after a mouthful too many. The prawns were done "crystal" style (like the Chinese restaurants tend to do) - some like it that way, some don't.
I remember their BBQ ribs (S$15.90) as a highlight of our last visit. This time round they failed to win hubby's favour though I still thought they tasted fine. The only quibble I had was the mass of solid white fat surrounding the soft bone parts. If the ribs were well-grilled, these should have melted somewhat. Why were there still so much of it in solid form? Too quick a blitz after being in the freezer too long? Hmm.
They now have even come up with set meals that include soup, main course, dessert AND drinks (non-alcoholic, of course). Another plus point is that all their prices are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Despite decent table service, there's no service charge or GST, so your final bill is not inflated by 17+%. So technically, if you want to compare their prices to other cafes/bistros that do charge the extras, you should mentally take 20% off Cafe Oliv's prices for a fairer picture.
Well, their food is OK for those prices. I don't know why Cafe Oliv is not doing better but I really do wish business picks up soon. Otherwise I fear we may not see it around for very long.
220 East Coast Road
Open daily 11.30am til 11pm