Overlooking the bay and Dun Laoghaire Pier, Oliveto is an Italian bar and restaurant in The Haddington Hotel. Originally located nearby in The Pavilion, it moved to what was then The Kingston Hotel a few years ago. Recently Oliveto has taken over the running and operation of the entire hotel hence the rebrand to The Haddington, a name taken from their street address.
One of Oliveto’s features is the beautiful view and outlook to the sea and pier. The menu is what you would expect, traditional Italian dishes from bruschetta and antipasti, pasta, pizza, grill options include chicken, lamb and beef, with some fish dishes and of course daily specials too. They say on their website, they are slowly moving towards an Italian steakhouse & bar so perhaps menu and styling may change over time.
We had a reservation and arrived at the allotted time. Our table wasn’t ready which was fine, we grabbed a drink at the bar while we waited. The bar in Oliveto is a really nice spot, perfect for a pre or post dinner drink. The restaurant seemed busy and a bit frantic but we assumed things would calm down as it was 8.15pm so peak arrival time! Not too long after arriving, we were told our table was ready, it was a table that had been free the whole time which was a bit strange, and it was very small for 4. Other tables of the same size were just seating 2 people. Given it was Saturday night, it was busy and we were hungry so we stayed put. They were short on menus, so we had one to share…
I really like the menu at Oliveto, and we were happy to see a special the evening we were there of prawns in a tomato chilli sauce with toasted bread. We decided to share two of the special starter between the 4 of us. For mains, it was a mix of pizza and pasta for our table, a Margherita with prosciutto (€15), one Rigatoni con Sugo di Salsiccie – slow cooked Italian sausage with aged parmesan (€14.50) and two House Pappardelle – wide ribbon pasta with slow braised lamb (€15).
The franticness continued, staff were running around from table to table and the kitchen for most of the evening, which was not at all the vibe you want in a restaurant; buzzy and lively is good but not that. We ordered wine after our aperitifs, choosing a carafe of Pinot Grigio (€17.50) for the white wine drinker, a bottle of Chateau Haut Gravelier (€30), a Bordeaux Merlot Cabernet and a couple of Italian beers.
The nicest thing about the prawns was the sauce they were sitting in, a tomato chilli delicious blend, perfect for dunking the accompanying bread and this was all mopped up. The prawns themselves were only ok – very bland, tasteless and a bit too chewy.
Main courses were a mix, the star without a doubt was the Rigatoni, which was a full of flavour, gorgeous bowl of pasta. I had food envy without a doubt.
The Pappardelle pasta itself was gorgeous, but there was too much lamb (not a normal complaint I know) so the dish was just too ‘meaty’ in taste, it was overpowering. I left half the lamb in the bowl as there was just too much for the amount of pasta. The pizza was a disappointment too. We expected more given their wood fired pizza oven and recommendations from friends that their pizzas were fantastic. Topping wise, it was great – nice balance of tomato and cheese, with the pieces of prosciutto on top. The base though was just a bit too much like eating cardboard…
We decided to skip dessert and move to the bar area. We were happy to take stools at the bar, enjoy a drink and carry on our evening there.
I hope it was just a bad once off experience, the combination of waiters running around you all evening and average food, just isn’t a good one. There was enough to make me return to try again and I loved the hotel itself. The experience we had in the evening in the restaurant does not tally at all with the wonderful stay in the hotel that night.
Oliveto At The Haddington Hotel | 9-12 Haddington Terrace, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 2800011 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org |