Eating Out - The Olive Garden

The Olive Garden, on Preston Road, Standish
The Olive Garden, on Preston Road, Standish

The best things come to those who wait.

A sage age-old proverb and, as it happens, something that could be chalked on the board outside The Olive Garden.

Located on Preston Road, a few hundred yards out of Standish village, you’ve probably driven past this quaint old building many times.

With my folks living up the road in Standish, it seemed the perfect choice for my mum’s birthday meal so, after booking in advance – and starving ourselves all day – up we rocked for a Sunday afternoon feed.

After parking in the spacious car park, we decided – with the sun beating down – we would sit outside in the welcoming garden area.

As Mrs K ventured inside to let the staff know we’d arrived – and to collect menus – we realised on the next table was Warrington and England RL star Stefan Ratchford.

“Is that him who missed the winning kick against Wigan last week,” enquired my dad, in a voice I’m sure he thought was quiet.

Anyway, the menus arrived, and we ordered a round of cold drinks – I opted for Peroni ahead of the other two lagers on tap ... just what the doctor ordered on such a hot day.

The drinks took a little longer to arrive than we expected, but that gave us time to work out what to have from the impressively presented menu.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the ‘Two-course menu for £9.95”, for two reasons.

First of all, it appealed to the super-scrimper in me.

Secondly, the dish I was going to get from the main menu – lasagna – was £9.95 on its own, meaning I was effectively getting a starter for free.

Perhaps taking my lead, the three other adults also went for the two-course deal ... the only dilemma being which of the mouth-watering options to select.

Eventually we made our choices and, when the waitress arrived, we put the order in – with our now-customary request that my youngest’s food be brought as quickly as possibly before he, to put it mildly, lost the plot with hunger.

Now it might have been because we were outside – or, more likely, because they were mad busy inside on a weekend afternoon – but the starters did take ages to come.

We were halfway through our second round of drinks when the first plate arrived – the ‘early’ kids meal, along with the starters and our ‘extra’ garlic bread to share, all at the same time – over an hour after we first sat down.

To be fair, we weren’t put out in the slightest, as the sun was shining, the continental lager was flowing, and Kendrick jnr was far too wrapped up in his new gadget to realise how hungry he was.

And once the food arrived, it proved to be well worth the wait.

I went for the BBQ ribs in Jack Daniel’s sauce, which is always something of a gamble.

It’s a given you’re going to make a mess, and sometimes it’s not worth it if the amount of meat on the bone isn’t the most generous.

Fortunately, The Olive Garden provided the biggest, most delicious helping of rib meat I’ve experienced, swimming in a bowl of rich, tasty sauce that could have easily passed as the soup of the day.

At the huge risk of over-facing myself ahead of the main course, I ate five of the six ribs (Mrs K had the other) ... and they were quite superb.

The other starters were also swiftly scoffed, the sauteed garlic mushrooms proving particularly palatable, and all perfectly presented.

This time we were grateful of the break in between courses to allow our starters to go down, before the arrival of the main courses.

And once again we weren’t disappointed. Well, apart from me, when Mrs K did her usual ‘can I please have extra garlic’ on her pizza!

Talk about uncouth – the waiter’s face said it all – and that’s from me, who has chips with my curry in an Indian. But I digress ...

Lasagna is my favourite food, and I try to have it in every Italian I go to.

And I’m struggling to think of a better one than The Olive Garden’s.

Some lasagnas are too wet, or too dry, too stodgy, or not stodgy enough.

This one was bang on just right, with less cheese than I’d usually like, but the a delightfully creamy sauce than more than made up for it.

My companions were similarly impressed, and I can confirm first-hand that my dad’s roast of the day – beef – was an excellent choice.

My mum’s beef stroganoff was ‘very tasty’, and I got to sample the remnants of the Pizza Margherita for tea the following day after the very-pleasant staff were kind enough to put the few remaining slices of my wife’s meal into a doggy bag.

With all of us stuffed, there was no room for pudding, but we’ll make sure we make room next time – and there will definitely be a next time.

The bill

Starters: Garlic bread, bruschetta, chicken liver pate, BBQ ribs (J Daniel’s sauce), garlic mushrooms.

Mains: Beef Stroganoff, Pizza Margherita (x 2), Lasagna, roast beef.

Drinks: White wine, Peroni , Cola, fruit shoot

Total: £84.50