I finally get to try Olivocarne, after many meals at Olivomare which is one of their other restaurants serving seafood. Besides belonging to the same group of Olivo Restaurants, what makes the experience so enjoyable is the attentive and friendly waiting staff. I love the Italian mannerisms and their love for food.
Olivocarne’s interior is also designed by Pierluigi Piu who designed that of Olivomare. He actually won the award, The 11th Modern Decoration International Media Awards, the RESTAURANT & BAR SPACE AWARD 2013, for his interior design of Olivocarne.
So what can be special about a meat restaurant? Well it helps if you like your meat for a start. My eyes were drawn immediately to the pasta with wild boar ragù, Straccetti Al Ragu Di Cinghiale, but I always fancy a Carpaccio Di Manzo as well. I found choosing what dishes I would like to try most difficult. Despite having an obvious name of Olviocarne – a meat orientated restaurant, they do serve non meat dishes if you look at their menu.
Being part of a large group dining at lunch, nine of us, this was a good test to see how they could handle many dishes a la carte. I will have to admit, it was handled with the flair and laid back Italian nature, but adding that efficiency of a well tuned and run team… sorry, Formula 1 racing seems to have popped into my head. I am thinking of the cars coming into the pit for a change of tyres/re-fuelling – on the whole everyone is as efficient as each other but Ferrari has a different flair!
Back to food – for our starters we tried: Midollo Arrosto, roast marrowbone served with mirto salt and crostini; Tartare con Bottarga, chopped beef tartare with grated bottarga and a touch of chilli; Fegatini di Pollo, chicken livers sautéed with balsamic vinegar and pancetta on baby spinach leaves; Straccetti al Ragù di Cinghiale, fresh flat pasta ribbons with wild boar ragù.
The wild boar ragù was fantastic, not as gamey as you would think, so those of you who don’t think they could take game, this one really is for you to try. If you like your bone marrow… well… what else can one say? I was assured it was very much worth ordering. The chicken livers sweetened by the balsamic vinegar did not retain any of the tartness. So all in all lunch commenced very satisfactory.
For mains we had: Sottopancia di Manzo, char-grilled sliced beef skirt with diced marinated fresh tomatoes & rocket salad; Bistecca di Manzo con L’Osso ai Ferri, chargrilled T-bone steak served with homemade chips; Animelle di Vitello, chargrilled veal sweetbreads served with green beans sautéed with ham; Filetto alla Vernaccia, fillet of beef sautéed with Vernaccia and rosemary served with roast potatoes.
Unfortunately we were there for lunch, as I had spotted Porceddu, slow roasted ‘Sardinian style’ suckling pig with roast potatoes. But that was only available for dinner – another time perhaps?
I would say the standard meat dishes are done well, but to really enjoy the creativity of the Olivocarne, you need to try the more unusual side of their offerings rather than a standard steak for example. I had hesitated in my choice of mains as I am also a fan of venison: Cervo al Forno, sliced marinated fillet of venison served with soft polenta and Savoy cabbage. My other option was Animelle di Vitello, chargrilled veal sweetbreads served with green beans sautéed with ham. If in doubt, ask the manager, who without hesitation, recommended the Animelle di Vitello and an excellent suggestion. This dish was certainly very enjoyable!
And what would you drink with all this meat? The wine list of the Olivo restaurants feature Italian wines of course – and my favourites are plenty to be listed. I did not not order the wine, but I recognised the label of the bottle immediately! Gaja! And so for lunch we had a Barolo Dagromis from Gaja, the label was recognisable from his other offering which was the first of his wines that I have bought and tried previously, Sito Moresco.
As for dessert: who could resist the classics – tiramisu, but best of all, try their homemade ice creams, frozen yoghurts and sorbets (I found the bitter honey frozen yoghurt and their Sardinian nougat ice cream particularly good). They have a shop where you can buy all this, at Olivogelo of course. After all this, just a espresso macchiato please.
61 Elizabeth Street
London, SW1W 9PP
Tel: 020 7730 799
Monday to Friday
lunch: 12.00 – 14.30
dinner: 19.00 – 23.00
lunch: 12.00 – 15.00
dinner: 19.00 – 23.00
lunch: 12 – 15.00
dinner: 19.00 – 22.30
Closed on Bank Holidays