I’d been rather fond of Pink Olive, and we included it in our 2012 Guide, as a great place for Sunday lunch, so was sad to hear of its demise, but in our challenging economic climate these things happen.
Sylvester’s is just easing its way in to existence, with signage still quite limited, and the interior much as it was previously, save a coat of paint and change of livery. It remains a smart and airy dining space.
The helpful waiter brought me the lunchtime menu, once I’d been seated at a comfortable corner table. The menu focussed and to the point, with soup, then a range of light main course options, a selection of sandwiches, and a special dish of the day.
I was delighted to try their soup, which today was wild mushroom. I added a tasty sounding harissa vegetable, goat’s cheese and cous cous salad, as I was feeling peckish.
The soup promptly appeared, served with four small slices of bread. It proved to be very good, with a satisfyingly nutty flavour, well balanced by a nice amount of creaminess.
The main course salad wasn’t as good. Although there was a nice array of vegetables through the cous cous, and a good amount of suitably tangy goat’s cheese, textures just didn’t come together particularly effectively. Also, the dish was topped with a couple of unfortunate spears of asparagus. They’d been completely murdered, which was a considerable sin.
They’re just setting out on their journey, though, so quibbles with the main course aside, they start from a strong enough starting point to give cause for optimism. Their impressively good espresso, from Bradford based Limini, was a further cause for joy.
What I would say is that I’m not entirely clear what the place is trying to be. It currently opens at 8am, does coffee to take away, serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon cakes, and dinner, so is in danger of trying to be all things to all men, which is a tough ask. For me, the space still feels like a bistro, rather than a café.
They can find their way with this, for now, then tailor their offering to what people are most valuing from them. There will come a time where they’ll need to nail their colours to the mast, though.
So overall, I really enjoyed the soup and espresso from Sylvester’s, so was left a happy chappy. Their salad needed some work, but wasn’t a million miles away from being a decent dish. I’ll be back, as I was assured that the espresso was still not quite as good as they’d like it to be, so I look forward to checking on the improvements they make, as they bed-in over the coming weeks and months.
Blythe scores Sylvester’s
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: wild mushroom soup; harissa vegetables, goat’s cheese and cous cous salad
I drank: water, espresso
I wore: classic questing garb
Total bill: £13.50