The Olive Tree Mediterranean Cafe | Facebook
3185 Hilliard Rome Rd. (map it!)
Hilliard, OH 43026
Open Mon-Sat, 11a-9p; Sun, 10a-8p (brunch served Sundays, 10a-2p)
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
On assignment for the Columbus Dispatch last month, I finally had the opportunity to try the Sunday brunch at The Olive Tree out in Hilliard. Read my thoughts here! It’s been on my list for a long time, and it was great to make the visit. We sampled the Sunday brunch menu and wanted to share our photos.
The bright space is located in a strip mall in Hilliard. There are two parts to it, an open waiting area that looks into the kitchen…
…and a dining room with lots of natural wood, beige floor tiles, and other decorations.
The Sunday brunch menu features a Bloody Mary, mimosas, screwdrivers, orange juice, sodas, coffee, tea. We tried the Turkish coffee.
In the Turkish coffee preparation, the coffee is very finely ground, even more so than expresso. It’s added to boiling water in a small metal pot, sometimes with sugar, sometimes without. You’re left to pour the coffee yourself at the table. The resulting brew is hot, strong, and bitter. The grounds aren’t filtered out, so you’ll see some sludge at the bottom.
Our server recommended starting with the cheese burekas, a Turkish puff pastry filled with parmesan and feta and topped with sesame seeds. These were one of my favorite bites from the meal, light and crispy, not greasy at all, with a nice blend of cheese.
The challah French toast was easy to love: a little dark but custardy and sweet, dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by fruit.
The sabich is an Iraqi Jewish breakfast sandwich that’s a pita stuffed with grilled eggplant, hard boiled egg, potatoes, and Israeli salad (diced tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice) then drizzled with tahini. The sandwich had great flavor, and it’s loaded with fresh veggies. Parts of it were a little dry, and I think the tahini would have helped if it were mixed throughout. The pita also fell apart, so we resorted to knife and fork.
One of the big features of the Sunday brunch menu are the shakshukas. If you’re not familiar with shakshuka, it’s a North African/Israeli breakfast dish that’s essentially eggs baked into a rich tomato sauce. The reduction is often made with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and I’ve seen versions with poached eggs, fried eggs, or more frequently – eggs cracked onto the sauce, topped with cheese, and baked in the oven.
Olive Tree features five versions: a traditional one, Greek (with feta cheese), Moroccan (with spicy merguez sausage), eggplant, and the humshuka with a base of hummus. We tried the Moroccan. The dish is very rich, and while I wish the eggs were a little runnier (I like mixing those egg yolks in with the tomato sauce) the sausage adds a really spicy kick to it.
And there’s more to the menu! Omelets, frittatas, lox and bagels, sides of hummus – all of it worth exploring!
Disclaimer: this meal was paid for as part of a Columbus Dispatch review. Thoughts and photos here are my own.