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THE OLIVE Tree is an oasis of sun-kissed Mediterranean cuisine among Oxford Street's cosmopolitan jumble of eateries.
Making extensive use of local ingredients, it offers a menu of seasonal dishes with a Mediterranean twist in a simple, friendly and pleasingly modern restaurant.
On offer is everything from flavour-packed peasant fare like the mixed mezze starter or bruschetta to the refined dining of the evening menu's offering of pan roasted fillet of beef served on a lobster mash with a shallot jus.
Fish is also a speciality and it's well worth casting an eye across a specials board packed with simple, fresh and tasty sounding dishes from the deep.
Impatient for food immediately we weighed straight in with an order for mixed breads, and a basket of warm tangy tomato bread and crispy garlic bread arrived in minutes.
Favouring simplicity for a starter, organic Scottish smoked salmon with pickled cucumber made for a colourful plateful of food, arriving with melt in the mouth strips of salmon arrayed around a mound of peppery rocket. The blush-pink salmon speared on a fork with a few of those dark-green spiky leaves and a thin slice of pickled cucumber is a delicate but lively mouthful.
Alternately, a haddock fishcake with pancetta was a more solid starter that could be turned into a main course by the straightforward option of adding a second one.
Not long after, my main course of filet steak stuffed with Brie and wrapped in pancetta was being whisked across the slate floor towards me.
Architecturally mounted on a bed of sauted potatoes, it loomed imposingly above a plate-wide lake of dark jus'. Pink inside and oozing creamy Brie into the brackish gravy it appealed to the eyes before satisfying the stomach with a medley of flavours and textures. And so it should coming in at a hefty £17.50 with a little more for a serving of mixed Mediterranean vegetables to offset the richness.
It's an extravagant course, but there's plenty here of more modest dimensions and lots aimed at midday diners pushed for time. A range of pastas, salads or good old sausage and mash are available for around £6.
When it came to dessert, rich, smooth chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream provided an indulgent full stop on a memorable meal that had cost just over £45 for two.