On the 21st February 2018, a tiny piece of Italy was brought to the very heart of Cheltenham in the form of the new Italian restaurant Olive Albero and in a very short time; it has taken its place accordingly in the hearts of those who have been lucky enough to discover it.
Just tucked away in Albion Street, a very warm Italian welcome awaits you at this lovely independent restaurant, which offers authentic Italian cuisine in a cozy, rustic setting.
This was my first visit to Olive Albero and the first thing that struck me was the pace; a sea of serenity and calm in stark contrast to the usual brisk ”get it quick, eat it quick and off you go” service in your average Italian restaurant. There is attention to detail in every respect and the whole dining experience is delivered with passion, precision and care.
What makes this even more amazing is that even though our hosts Dana and Giuseppe had help behind the bar on this particular evening, they are essentially just a two- man team; Dana out front and Giuseppe in the kitchen and yet they could not have been more attentive to our needs. Giuseppe even found time to come and chat to us during our meal to tell us more about the delicious dishes he almost effortlessly creates and answer my endless questions.
Giuseppe started to cook when he was 16 years old in Milan and has worked at the very prestigious 5* hotel Il Principe di Savoia and also at the same hotel as master Italian Michelin star chef, Gualtiero Marchesi – widely considered as being the founder of modern Italian cuisine. Age-old recipes passed down through the family mean that Giuseppe is able to bring his own vision of real Italian food made by a real Italian chef to Cheltenham.
An initial taste pleaser was a lovely touch as a complimentary appetiser but this was only the start, as what we experienced in terms of dining can only be described as a first class journey of mouthwatering Italian taste experiences and proved undoubtedly that some things really are well worth waiting for.
Following a fabulous Bread Basket with the tastiest Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, I chose the Funghi all’Aglio to start and these were hands down the most delicious mushrooms I have had in years. His Lordship wisely chose the Calamari Fritti con Limone, which again, in all sincerity, was cooked to absolute perfection: testament to the skill of the chef.
We were then treated to a fabulous Spaghetti alla Carbonara, which was the best His Lordship had ever tasted in his years of travelling the world and for me, the Chef’s personal recommendation, Pamigiana di Melanzane . Che squisito!
Despite at this point being so full, we could not resist a taste of the home made Tiramisu and Cannolo Siciliana although with a traditional Torte di Mele and Selezione di Gelato also on offer, it was a very tough choice as to what could possibly top off such a lovely meal!
All dishes are freshly made, beautifully presented and created from the very best of ingredients, sourced where possible from Italy itself. Dana and Giuseppe work as a team unequivocally united in their mission to ensure that they deliver the best possible experience they can. “It’s a pleasure to work,” Dana said and I thought it was such a lovely thing to be able to say.
This really made me think of the amount of times in my life I’ve ever said that i.e. zero- until I started to write the blog anyway. However, now I am able to finally say it myself, as spending time at Olive Albero, really was an absolute pleasure and I cannot wait for my next visit. Think I’ll definitely have to try the lunch special!
Many thanks to Dana and Giuseppe for una serata bellissima! Cin cin!