JLife’s Laura Sefton travelled to the charming town of Ilkley to sample scrumptious Turkish cuisine, lunchtime style.
The Olive Branch has become something of a byword for high quality cuisine among its loyal clientele. Having gained popularity, the flagship Hebden Bridge eatery led to the launch of more restaurants in Sowerby Bridge, Alwoodley, Roundhay and Ilkley. Having already visited the Street Lane venue before I ventured to Ilkley, expectations were high.
My dining companion and I visited on a Wednesday lunchtime and we were warmly greeted by friendly staff before taking our seats. As we took in our surroundings, it became apparent that this has different décor to its sister restaurants. The room was filled with wooden beams and rustic exposed stone walls, and a TV screen adorned one wall, depicting a crackling log fire that added to the cosy atmosphere.
As it was lunchtime we opted for a sensible glass of fresh orange juice each (£2.50), however we were impressed by the range of wines on offer. I was almost tempted by the Blushmore zinfandel rosé (£5.50 for 250ml), an Italian medium-dry wine that would be a delicious accompaniment to an evening meal.
We perused the menu, which, like the décor, is different to that at other Olive Branch eateries, setting it apart and giving it its own character. My guest and I both opted for hot starters to warm us up on the rainy March afternoon. I selected the haloumi, a tasty chargrilled goats’ cheese in a golden breadcrumb. It was incredibly moreish and inspired one of our fellow diners to ask me what I’d ordered and what I thought of it. I informed her that it was an excellent choice for a starter.
Meanwhile, my companion chose the kofte – pan-friend lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce that she described as incredibly tasty. She particularly enjoyed the sauce, which was ‘delightfully creamy’. The accompanying homemade bread was perfect for dipping in the leftover sauce.
From our seats, we had a prime view of the kitchen, so we could see when our main course was ready. The levrek (sea bass) was the dish of choice for my guest, who was impressed with the flavoursome fish. The fillet is served with either chips or bulgar rice and she decided to try the latter, which was, I was informed, a tasty option.
As a vegetarian, I was particularly impressed with the selection available. After some toing and froing, I decided to try the kizartma. This was a beautifully presented pot filled with oven-roasted vegetables served with a delicious dollop of garlic yoghurt and I was very satisfied with my meal.
Having enjoyed our lunchtime treat, we were ready to return to reality feeling suitably full. I had never tried Turkish food for a midday meal before, but after my visit to The Olive Branch in Ilkley I would highly recommend this eatery if you are on a day trip in the spa town. It is a lovely setting for both social visits and working lunches and I will certainly return to try some more of the moreish meals on the menu.
WHAT WE ATE
Haloumi cheese: £4.95
Olive Branch kofte: £4.95
Levrek (sea bass fillet): £13.95
The Olive Branch
1 Crescent Terrace
01943 968 140