HungryinLondon's Qype reviews
49 Elizabeth Street, Victoria, London SW1W 9PP
HungryinLondon wrote on 5 January 2012
For photos and more please refer to http://hungryinlondon.com/2011/10/oliveto-belgravia/
Oliveto is another example of a substandard,overpriced Italian restaurant in London. I don’t know why you can find so many of them in London,I think I have eaten more bad Italian food than any other cuisine.
Oliveto is part of a small Sardinian restaurant dynasty consisting of a few restaurants with olive inspired names (the others are Olivo,Olivomare and Olivino),all in the Belgravia area. Unfortunately,Oliveto is an example of a previously nice restaurant gone bad. I used to eat there once in a while several years back,and while it never was one of my favourite restaurants,it was appropriate for a decent,no fuss pizza or plate of pasta. I always disliked the restaurant’s interior though. Completely devoid of anything (like carpets,wall paper,curtains…) to dampen the sound of the diners,the background noise is deafening and you literally have to converse by shouting,even if you sit next to each other. Not the best atmosphere for a relaxed dinner,but good enough for a quick lunch.
My first visit after several years was very disappointing. The plate of grigliata mista di verdure (8.70) as antipasto was mediocre and not exactly generous. Particularly as half of it was celeriac and celeriac is my top most hated vegetable. (Mind you,this little detail is NOT Oliveto’s fault).
My most favourite part of the meal was the bread basket. Fresh ciabatta and crisp pane carasau (the typical Sardinian bread) were surprisingly delicious,considering the rest of the meal. I would have had to go home hungry if not for this,as the pizza clearly missed the mark.
Considering that Oliveto is supposed to be a Sardinian restaurant,I have my doubts that there could possibly be an Italian behind this pizza. I think you would call it a crime,no treason,against every proud Italian pizza chef.
We chose pizza carretiera (13.40) which was advertised to contain buffalo mozzarella,fresh tomato and basil. The dough was not bad,thin and not too salty. The remainder however was horrible. Everything was swimming in tomato sauce,which tasted like straight out of a packet or tin and was far too liquid. To advertise basil as a pizza topping and then only add four measly leaves is a bit mean. However,to sprinkle everything with a weird green artificial tasting basil sauce is an abomination and can’t be forgiven. The biggest problem was the ‘fresh tomato’part. Apart from the fact that the tomatoes were tasteless,the useless pizza chef had put the pieces of buffalo mozarealla (I am not even sure it was buffalo to be honest) only exactly on top of the tomatoes. In case you were wondering –this doesn’t work,as it makes the cheese hard and stringy,you almost couldn’t chew it.
The atmosphere,as mentioned before,is more remeniscent of a busy train station (noise-wise I mean) and the service personnel is brusque. People don’t seem to mind though,as it was absolutely packed when I went to Oliveto. I think I have just answered my own question,the reason why there are so many substandard,overpriced Italian restaurant in London is that people indiscriminately go there.