On a Thursday afternoon, a week before Chinese New Year, the travelers that throng the square of Guangzhou East Railway Station have retreated, and the surrounding neighborhoods recede to their once-a-year repose. Two blocks west of the train station though, business operations at Olive Terrace, a homey bistro that opened late last year, aren’t daunted by pre-CNY quietude.
Fronting Linhe Xi Lu, the restaurant greets patrons with a mustard-yellow facade, olive-green door and a wood-floored porch; the ‘terrace’ in its name apparently referring to an indoor seating area with a wooden awning.
Within, customers gather under dim lighting at tables adorned with floral tiles, engrossed in food and conversation. Wine bottles are ranked on a table that surrounds a brick pillar, which centers the eatery. It looks inviting.
Serving up some well-presented, primarily Italian fare crafted by a seasoned chef with a culinary career spanning 30 years, Olive Terrace boasts a decent wine list and makes for an excellent destination for those who enjoy a good vino with their fine Italian meal. Outlandishly, there’s a side menu featuring several selections of sukiyaki, or Japanese-style hot pot.
For hors d'oeuvres, order the carpaccio with scallop, shrimp, salmon and citrus dressing (RMB108). This appetizer, made with ingredients at the peak of freshness, makes for a stimulating start to the meal. The Waldorf salad (RMB60), however, comes in a mayo dressing that’s simply over the top.
The star of the show has to be the surf and turf with roast beef and Pacific prawns (RMB248), with the giant shrimp cooked to perfection. This delectable dish, with roasted carrot, onion and cherry tomatoes on the side, is tailored for two people. Another highlight on the bill of fare is linguine with prawn, cognac, cherry tomato and parmesan (RMB68), – a bold harmony of flavors served al dente.
Try the baked marshmallow with chocolate fondue (RMB46) to conclude your meal with a sweet, satisfying finish.
With quaint, Mediterranean furnishing that conveys a certain bucolic ambience, Olive Terrace strikes us as a comfy bistro where a fine repast is guaranteed.
Who’s going: local and expat couples, Japanese-Italian fusion fans
Good for: surf and turf
Nearest metro: Guangzhou East Railway Station (Exit F, 10 minutes)
Open daily, 11.30am-11pm; see listing for Olive Terrace.