Oleaceae Restaurant & Cafe (pronounced Oh-lee-see-ya) has quickly become a firm favourite with locals in the leafy Adelaide Hills town of Mount Barker. Owner Amy Daher tells me the recently opened Oleaceae is quite unique because it not only offers all day casual dining, but a full restaurant experience for lunch and dinner. Functions and events for up to 100 people are also catered for.
‘Olea’ is the Latin word for ‘olive’ and Oleaceae means the ‘family of olive trees’. Amy explains the name is a true representation of the Mediterranean. It’s a fitting name as Oleaceae is clearly a family restaurant. On the day of my visit, Amy’s polite and entrepreneurial six-year old son was running a lemonade stand for $2 a cup. A divine concoction of fresh lemons, water, rosewater and a little sugar, he had me sold after the first sip!
Last month Oleaceae, in collaboration with Adelaide Food Central and The Adelaide Set, officially launched their Mediterranean inspired menu. After sampling a variety of delicious dishes I was inspired to return for brunch and find out more about this Adelaide Hills gem.
Matched with excellent coffee, both our selected brunch dishes were given a massive tick of approval. Some of Oleaceae’s more popular items for breakfast and brunch include Zucchini Fritters, Smashed Avo, Loaded Benny Eggs and the Big Brekkie. Their ethos is seasonal, local produce and suppliers.
I was super impressed with my Smashed Avo. Served on falafel instead of the usual toasted bread, it came with poached eggs and a hummus that was to die for! My brunch friend was equally impressed with her Zucchini Fritters.
The Zucchini Fritters were shallow fried balls – crisp on the outside and deliciously moist in the middle. Served with poached eggs, grilled halloumi and herb salad with a zaatar and tahini dressing, they were sensational! Plate sizes were generous and we both agreed that the flavours in our dishes were bright and zingy.
Amy was generous with her time – it’s evident she’s passionate about pleasing her customers — and explained they’ve recently added a few more vegan items to the menu. Think vegan bowls, roasted pumpkin salad and fattoush salad to name a few. Vegans are well catered for at Oleaceae. At the menu launch I was particularly impressed with their Fried Cauliflower with Tahini Lemon Parsley (from their Street Tapas menu) and their main course Cauliflower Steak dish.
A delightful host, Amy shared a little about her background. She met her husband in Lebanon where she was working as a translator, before moving into hospitality. After working in various parts of the world, they eventually settled in Adelaide with their two young children.
The exotic spices and flavours from their Middle Eastern heritage are woven throughout the dishes on Oleaceae’s menu. It’s a notable and worthy point of difference. Familiar dishes are infused with the joyful delight of their homeland spices and elevated to another level. ‘Smashed Avo’ and ‘Zucchini Fritters’ become bigger and bolder, with more expressive flavours.
Lunch service sees wraps and Halloumi Burgers in high demand. Dinner favourites include Sirloin Steak, Gnocchi with roast pumpkin, sage, brown butter, pine nuts and mushrooms and, of course, their range of delicious Burgers. Street Tapas meals are ideal for those who want smaller plates, or wish to to try a variety of dishes.
Oleaceae’s dinner menu includes beautifully crafted desserts. Creme Brûlée with berries and halawa pistachio is a stand out. Affogato coffees are a tempting option if you’re too full for dessert.
Oleaceae Restaurant & Cafe oozes both country charm and professional hospitality. Amy and her team have produced a thoughtfully designed menu with a real air of sophistication. I especially love how Oleaceae’s dishes embrace the soul and taste of their family’s heritage.
Amy and her family’s decision to establish a business in Mount Barker is a sound one. It’s the largest town in the Adelaide Hills, with increased popularity over recent years. Locals enjoy a lifestyle in the lush countryside, where housing is more affordable, yet are located only a mere 33 kms from Adelaide’s CBD. Another drawcard fuelling growth in the area is the council’s plan for a European style town square which expects to provide 400 new permanent jobs.
Oleaceae is a very welcome addition to the Adelaide Hills and definitely here to stay. Oh, and did I mention they also do a Mediterranean High Tea? I can’t wait to return! Take a drive to Mount Barker and experience the delightful Oleaceae for yourself.
Where: Oleaceae Restaurant 2 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, South Australia
When: Breakfast/Lunch: Wednesday – Sunday Dinner: Thursday — Saturday
Contact: Bookings: Phone 08 8398 2610 / 0438 358 626 or via Website