The Olive Tree Coffee Shop in Pietermaritzburg has been one of my favourite eateries in the KwaZulu-Natal capital for a number of years now, and after my latest lunchtime visit I can happily say that the establishment hasn’t changed its recipe for success. The chief aim of any coffee shop should be to make it as easy as possible for patrons to unwind and relax while they sample top quality cuisine and receive extraordinary service – something The Olive Tree does very well.
Unfriendly or poorly trained staff, sub-standard or poorly presented food and a noisy, cluttered environment are a major turn off for any potential customer. Happily, though, The Olive Tree maintains a high degree of professionalism right from the kitchen to the table making it undoubtedly the best coffee shop in Pietermaritzburg by some margin.
The cuisine on offer at The Olive Tree comprises tramezzini’s, quiche’s, schnitzel’s, salads, sandwiches, curries, pies, lasagnes, lamb shanks, burgers, oxtail and pan-fried sole (always remember to have a look at the daily ‘specials boards’ as some of these items are not found on the menu). That’s quite a selection and the breakfast menu is not to shabby either boasting a variety of omelettes, toasted sandwiches, open melts and traditional offerings such as the good old-fashioned English breakfast.
I opted for a chicken mayonnaise trammezzini which was brought to me in good time and with minimum fuss. The dish was delicious and, at just R57, was well worth the money. As a substitute for dessert I settled for a scone with marmalade (R16,50) although it was difficult to pass up on the tasty treats (milk tart, chocolate cake, carrot cake and lemon meringue being among them) that were on offer.
After settling the bill I decided to spend some time photographing a flock of delightfully cute bronze mannikins that were buzzing around a feeding perch set up on the establishment’s wooden deck. These diminutive (average length just 7,5cm) birds were a frenzy of activity as they jostled for position, each one eager to secure the best feeding spot.
I was fascinated by the speed at which the mannikins darted to and fro from their feeding perches to the branches overhanging the adjacent river bank. With the exception of the hummingbird family, they must be some of the most nimble and agile birds around. Truly amazing!
As always I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Olive Tree. It’s an establishment that offers everything even the most particular of patrons could want. The service was good, the waitrons friendly and attentive, the food tasty, the portions generous and the atmosphere relaxed and calming.
There’s also a children’s menu for smaller appetites and a playground to keep them out of mischief while pensioners can look forward to ‘Pensioners Days’ on which they will receive special attention – surely a full house in anyone’s books. The Olive Tree is a must visit for anyone wanting to experience a quality culinary experience in tranquil and peaceful surroundings and is likely to be a firm favourite among both locals and visitors for years to come.
Tel: +27 (0)33 394 7033
Address: MacDonald’s Nursery Complex, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal