I love the Harrogate dining scene, because you’ll usually find yourself tucked in the nook above a shop, or hidden down a cobbled ginnel. It’s fairytale food stuff.
What’s also decidedly dreamy is the amount of eateries that take the Tastecard. Great news for savers who want to slip out for a midweek morsel.
La Oliva sprung up like a tiny Catalonian flower a couple of months ago. There was no bravado, no toreador, definitely no breeches or cape; just a chalkboard, some cool lighting and the promise of knock-out tapas.
Tapas. The love/hate quandary of the hungry person. There’s the fear of ordering too little and feeling sad, or too much and chucking your cash away. It feels so ‘British’ too to grill the waiter about your thoughts. I have to admit after several years of working around tapas myself, I’m still unsure how much to ask for.
We ordered dishes, stopping only really when we kind of ran out of menu to point at. We ate it all anyway. I do love a good challenge.
They serve tapas the correct way. It was lovely service – borderline horizontal and the two man team (a quiet night), just milled around sampling wines on the bar, nibbling jamon Iberico…. remind me again why I didn’t beg for a job?
After being served a traditional quenelle of potato, prawn and mayonnaise to try, we shared iberico bruschetta, mild but tasty patatas bravas, delicious garlic prawns, chorizo in cider and some ham croquettes. It was simple, tasty food that whilst being more expensive than their tapas chain counterparts, really felt worth it.
We shared a giant ice cream profiterole, topped with toasted almonds. This was just like eating a posh, round Feast lolly. Oh, and our bill was topped with some rocks of white chocolate peanut brittle. A lovely end to my little stay on the continent.
La Oliva was a great place to chill and nibble through some well-cooked dishes. It is elegant, modern, humble – a perfect mix, without a single straw donkey in sight.
La Oliva, 13-15 Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate HG1 1DD.
Tel:01423 531422 @LaOliva_rest