Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cafe Oliv - not for long?

Traditional Braised Lamb Shank, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

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.

Seafood Linguine, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

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.

Lunch and Dinner set meals, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

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
Tel: 6344-3114
Open daily 11.30am til 11pm



  1. Gosh, is business that bad? i always like them, even though i have yet been there before.

    hope biz picks up for them yea? i heard many good things about Cafe Oliv

  2. The representation looks pretty good imo, gotta be in my list. And the waver of GST and service charge for the Lunch and Dinner set is one of the + point too ^_^

  3. oh no, that bad? is there lots of competition around or perhaps the place is just too out of the way?

    but the food shots u took looks yummy! :)and hopefully the set meals will attract more customers. :)

  4. Could it be Chef Kelvin is not cooking?

  5. maybe all they need is a few more famous food bloggers to give them a 2nd boost. :D

  6. Lady/Brad: Hurry and visit before they close! LOL

    PaulKami: Yeah, actually the no GST/service charge applies "storewide" to a la carte items as well, not just the set meals.

    Jaime: yes, there is competition around it. Next door Togi the Korean place was packed. Even the Northern/Eastern Dumpling place was half-full. Cafe Oliv should not be doing that bad...

    smart: I did see a young chap in the kitchen, should be Kelvin still.

    Southernoise: haha, looks like ieat needs to visit them again!

  7. Do you know how to do the prawns 'crystal' style? Care to share some tips with me if you do?? I've always wondered how they achieve that!
    Thanks! :)

  8. Went to cafe oliv the other night;
    had lamb shank - which was alright, nothing too fantastic - maybe coz i dont really like lamb shank; but the lamb was indeed flavourful....
    you should try the burger trio coz that was really impressive.
    creme brulee was nice.
    soft shelled crab too.
    not sure about the steaks though.

    i think businesss is okay - not full, but i was there on a sunday at eight and there were about 5 tables including us - so it wasn't that bad.

  9. wei: I'm no expert at crystal prawns but you can take a look at the salt whipping method.

    ceadsearc: good to hear that. Yes, I'll try the trio burgers next time.

  10. i visited cafe oliv thrice and had bad experiences all 3 times (ranging from cold soup, forgotten orders and uncooked meat). Maybe that explains the lack of customers..

  11. nope, sorry, that was me~ =)

  12. I've visited Cafe Olive twice over the past 2 months and have only good things to say about their food and service. Really value for money and I firmly intend to visit them again at least twice more over the next 1 month...hope that will help them abit.

  13. This place looks like a bargain. I will give it a try...


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