Harrogate-based restaurant Olivers 24 began culinary life with a Swedish head chef and a strong Scandinavian influence. But a change of personnel meant a distinct new direction for the menu now offered by owners Sandy and James Greetham.
Since the appointment of joint head chefs Jamie Dilaffer and Dean Sowden to the two-floor, 80-seat restaurant, Swedish favourites such as marinated fish have been replaced by dishes described by Dilaffer as "classical with a twist of the modern, created with an open approach".
Dilaffer says he and Sowden have "a good understanding of taste" and as a result they handle ingredients with extra care to avoid spoiling them. Supported by one other chef, together they create dishes with little concession to the bizarre. "Too many people put crazy ingredients on [their menus] for the sake of it," says Dilaffer. "They buy themost weird-sounding things without knowing exactly what to do with them."
As a result, the dishes on the Olivers 24 menu - which offers nine starters, nine main courses and eight desserts - remain broadly conventional but with an added touch of flair.
French and English influences are apparent throughout. For example, a main selection of a fillet of lamb is served with tomato confit and spinach tian with a tarragon jus (£12.90). The lamb, explains Dilaffer, is a typical English meat given a French slant with the jus. "If the dish was more English, it would have a thicker gravy," he says.
From the starters, dishes specially favoured by diners include aromatic scallops and tiger prawns with Oriental vegetable broth (£6.50). "We create an Oriental soup using fish stock, and garnish it with three scallops," says Dilaffer.
Another popular choice is foie gras, duck confit and lentil terrine, thyme jelly and toasted brioche (£6.75). Dilaffer believes its popularity is rooted in the fact that people have become more accustomed to eating foie gras in England - and because they also want to try out the most expensive dish.
The menu changes seasonally, though signature dishes such as the foie gras are retained. It also offers a selection of dishes from the chargrill. These include salmon fillet, chicken, fillet steak and tuna, and range in price from £10.50 to £12.50. All are served with vegetables and red wine sauce.
An average of 40 customers a day eat an evening meal at Olivers 24, each spending around £35per head.
Olivers 24, 24 Kings Road, Harrogate,HG1 5JW. Tel: 01423 568600