Scrumptious lamb served with a variety of roast veggies.
Scrumptious lamb served with a variety of roast veggies.
Rabbit casseroled in red wine and herbs served with mash and veggies
Rabbit casseroled in red wine and herbs served with mash and veggies
The Olive Garden
Where: Bona Terra Road (off Kassier Road, Assagay)
Call: 031 768 1314
Open: Daily 8am to 4pm

I always love surprises, especially when a restaurant exceeds all expectations. On a recent expedition into the restaurant wilderness that is the upper highway, we met the Maritzburg family at the Olive Garden, tucked away in Assagay, and we were enchanted.

Set in a nursery, it’s a simple rustic shed that spills out onto a patio but the welcome was warm and the service welcoming and efficient.

We relaxed over very good coffees, served correctly with a glass of water while the niece explored the nursery and brought us all a flower. The wine by the glass was a generous carafe too.

The lunchtime menu is simple. Starter might include a bruschetta plate with four different toppings.

Mains include a selection of pastas, including an authentic sounding puttanesca. There’s also steak, Midlands trout, a selection of chicken and a simple burger and prego roll.

Being Sunday, there was an exceptionally good value three-course lunch special for R150.

The lamb was an excellent choice. And it was served with four different vegetables, each properly cooked and with distinctive flavours.

The sister just had the chicken liver starter which was rich and rewarding. They gladly served it with a side of chips, rather than sourdough. Even the niece’s chicken nuggets were real food. These were not the dreadful frozen out the packet creatures usually associated with kiddies menus, but chicken breasts sliced and crumbed and cooked. Impressive.

A special of the day was rabbit casserole, a dish all too rarely seen on Durban menus. I couldn’t resist. The rabbit was meltingly tender and a generous portion cooked in a rich red wine and herb sauce.

For dessert, the malva pudding was, well, malva pudding, but I certainly enjoyed my home-made apple crumble.

What a treat.

Food: 4

Service: 4

Ambiance: 4