Olive Tree Greek Restaurant - Chapel Allerton
This family-owned group of restaurants are run day to day by husband and wife team George and Vasoulla, with George busying himself in the kitchen over-seeing his talented team of chefs, while Vasoulla looks after the front-of-house.
The couple are Greek Cypriot but have been taken to the hearts of Yorkshire folk, having moved here some 35 years ago and raised their two children, Vicki and Solos, here. Solos is now involved with the business, helping to run and develop this quality-minded group of top class eateries.
George is a self-taught chef of some repute, holding the philosophy of 'real ingredients cooked by real people' very close to his heart. This ethos is maintained by using only the best ingredients each season has to offer and cooking them in an honest, wholesome manner.
With George and Vasoulla always striving to be the very best, their efforts haven't gone unnoticed by the media, earning them many excellent reviews and awards. Among them being featured in the latest Which? Good Food Guide, the AA Restaurant Guide, Relais Routiers and some high acclaim from Egon Ronay. Further press attention has come courtesy of AA Gill of the Sunday Times, the Yorkshire Post, Telegraph and Argus and Yorkshire Life. On top of this there have been appearances on ITV's Good Morning, BBC 2's Food and Drink, Cyprus Television, Sky, Radio Aire, Pulse Radio and London Greek Radio. Amazingly George still finds the time to cook.
One taste of the food and it's easy to see why. Halloumi cheese is expertly grilled and served on torn leaves, vine leaves are stuffed with minced lamb, rice and a hint of mint and king prawns in garlic butter, white wine and parsley are the stuff one normally sees on cookery TV shows - all simply superb.
Further truly representative Greek fare is a delight in the summer sunshine; kota riganati - char-grilled chicken in olive oil, lime juice and oregano, pagidagia - lamb cutlets in garlic, lime juice and rosemary and kleftiko - a slowly cooked lamb joint that simply falls of the bone and oozes flavour.
The Rodley restaurant is a cracking Greek eaterie, housed in a large converted manor house that retains a terrific homely feel with authentic Greek music and dance on Friday and Saturday nights.
Opened in January of 2005, The Olive Tree's Chapel Allerton branch continues the good food in cosy, modern surroundings. Feast on traditional dishes such as dolmades and moussaka and don't forget the Greek trifle.
In Headingley the youngest member of The Olive Tree family opened its doors in February of this year, and is already following in the footsteps of the other two branches by establishing itself as a firm favourite amongst local diners.