The Sweet Olive
The village of Aston Tirrold has a strange, timeless quality. Set in the south of Oxfordshire, Didcot, Wantage and Wallingford (once the capital of England) are all under 20 minutes’ drive away. The Sweet Olive has evolved over two centuries to become a cosy, unassuming local pub and a dining destination for those searching for something rather special. The decor is comfortably understated, with woodwork painted in soft hues and open fi replaces. The serving platters are often prettily decorated with dainty flowers that have been picked fresh from local gardens and farms – in fact most of the produce used in the menu comes from these local producers and farmers.
The à la carte menu is seasonally inspired, changing every six weeks with a daily specials menu. Alternatively, the bar menu offers classic dishes throughout the winter and is replaced by a lighter garden menu in summer. Manager Debbie has over 30 years of experience cooking, and the kitchen team has a combined wealth of passion, knowledge and experience – a winning combination, and one they are using to gain great acclaim at The Sweet Olive.
I started with pan-fried king scallops, Spanish chorizo, roast red pepper purée and seafood vinaigrette – a perfect partnership of flavours. My husband’s choice was the locally sourced game terrine, accompanied with homemade fi g chutney and Melba toast, which suited the autumnal evening perfectly. I then selected locally shot roast partridge, Dauphinoise potatoes, sautéed leeks and greens, finished with dark chocolate Port jus. The game flavour and the rich jus combined beautifully on the plate and palate, creating a dish to really impress. A dessert of spiced plum and almond Pavlova was light and sweet, as crisp meringue oozed with rich, red plums – simply gorgeous. The steamed treacle sponge, ginger ice cream, and crème anglaise were served separately – each component complemented and balanced the other. It was a triumph.
We left The Sweet Olive feeling both contented and spoilt, wishing only to pass on our praise for the hospitality we found there, and our heartfelt recommendation to others.