On the corner of Zeally Bay Road and Cliff Street in Torquay a quaint white picket fenced house has been transformed and renovated into a colourful Mexican themed space, Olé.
After two dinner dates I’ve worked my way through a selection of their tapas style menu.
Featuring a selection of Mexican fiesta dishes there’s an abundance to choose from.
Snack on some totopos (corn chips and a trio of salsas) from their Antojitos (smaller share plates) menu selection while you decide on which more substantial options to go for.
While I would recommend this as a good starting to buy you more time to chat away before committing to the more serious items, it’s interesting to note that although it’s described as three salsas, there’s only two and the third is sour cream – while this is slightly misleading the sour cream plays a vital role because boy do those two salsas have some kick to them.
At this stage I have only tried one other antojitos item, the costillas – braised fatty lamb ribs. For $15 you’ll receive a generous serving of 4 large ribs, and to my surprise only one of them contained any bones. The meat is super succulent and just melts in your mouth, however as the description suggests they are an incredibly fatty piece of meat so if you’re willing to sacrifice a few fatty parts for some super tender, juicy finger licking meat then I would definitely recommend them.
Of course you can’t go to a Mexican restaurant and not have tacos, so of the five options I have tried three of them; the ox cheek, tequilla polo (chicken), and the ceviche camaron (prawns).
My first dining experience I opted for two different ones and tried the ox cheek along with the prawns. Both delicious but the prawns were the stand out of the two, and of the entire menu in my eyes. Each taco contained two well sized coconut and tabasco ceviche prawns drizzled with a lime crema served on a bed of iceberg lettuce. If you’ve got any salsa left from the corn chips, might I suggest adding a dollop or two to your taco to give it that little extra kick.
While the ox cheek was again super juicy and tender like the ribs, this was also it’s downfall as the extra juice made the blue soft corn tortilla soggy.
While the chicken taco was yummy, I probably wouldn’t pick it again over the ox cheek or prawns.
They are small so I would definitely recommend getting yourself two, and perhaps mixing them up so you can try a few of them.
The menu also features some larger dishes in their Platos Grandes section, including DIY tacos (you can make eight per serving), salads and the likes of quesadilla.
I have since tried the quesadilla – crispy cheese tortilla served with sliced scotch fillet, pickles and guajillo salsa. While this was a yummy dish it wasn’t a stand out and on my next visit I’d be inclined to order something different.
Postres (dessert) wise you have two options: a sweet or a tangy.
The sweet option is a chocolate taco featuring a chocolate tortilla base topped with soft chocolate, peanuts, chocolate soil and a milk ice-cream. Plating wise it looks lovely, and it tastes just as good. As it is an incredibly sweet and rich dessert the accompaniment of the ice-cream is very much needed.
On the other hand there’s the tangy option of a lemon ice box cake. Featuring lemon curd, vanilla biscuits, lemon sorbet and chocolate totopos it is the complete opposite to the chocolate taco, but in a good way. It plays a wonderful role in cleansing the palate at the end of a tapas style feast.
If you’re dead set on having dessert I’d convince your dinner date to get one of each. They compliment one another perfectly, allowing you to dip into the sweet and rich side of dessert as well as counter balance that with a tangy, refreshing opposite.
However, quite frankly the $14 price tag on each of the desserts leaves me wondering whether they’re really worth that much? My answer: no. To me $14 for a dessert that might have been well plated, divine to eat but not well sized for the price tag is not worth it. Instead I’d recommend taking an after dinner walk to Bell Street and grabbing a cup of ice-cream from Nördenfine Ice Cream Company. For only $6 you can have a ridiculous amount of ice-cream that is creamy, and absolutely delicious and well worth the guilt of eating so much of it.
Drink wise, the menu suggests their food is best washed down with a margarita and for those looking for an alcoholic option you’ve got five margarita varieties to choose from. There is also a selection of tequilas, wines, spirits, beers and ciders. For those watching their alcohol intake I would highly recommend the Jarritos Guava (also available in cola, lime, and pineapple). Put simply it’s just a guava flavoured soda but it’s pretty damn good and matches the food so well!
Aside from the food though, I must commend the owners on transforming what was once a home into a bright and colourful restaurant, and utilising the space so well. From the decor inside to the old cable barrels making up the tables outside, it’s been well thought out and fundamentally executed well. The house on the corned has been transformed into a spot that you can’t help but notice as you walk or drive past, and that is one of Olé’s strengths.
Prior to visiting I had heard some mixed reviews about Olé, mostly negative to be honest, but I thought I’d give it a shot because everyone’s opinions are different. Perhaps they went on a bad day but I found it pleasantly surprising and couldn’t fault it as much as the reviews I’d heard and read.
My only negatives would be that:
- It is pricey, but let’s be honest food any where in Australia is pretty pricey no matter where you go these days.
- It can get incredibly busy which does mean sometimes food might take a little bit longer but again that’s something that you’ll find in a lot of restaurants, and I’ve waited much longer in others.
If you ever find yourself having a Mexican fiesta at the joint, let me know what you end up trying and your overall opinion on the place!
*Please note the featured image used for this article is the property of Olé’s FB page.