Food review: Green Olive Italian

29 Peachey Rd, Ormeau Ph: 07 5546 7025

It’s not often that someone opens a restaurant as a tribute, but that’s exactly what Green Olive Italian is.

Only a year after their restaurant Garlic Clove Indian opened during Covid, ex-Versace and Kokum chef Merchant Sabir and his wife Dolly have opened their second venue, Green Olive Italian on the western side of Ormeau.

At first glance, Italian is not an obvious choice for an Indian born and raised chef, however there’s a story behind each plate that I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

“After completing my chef apprenticeship at Taj Hotels, the most prestigious worldwide chain of hotels based in India, I decided to travel so that I could increase my culinary skills,” Chef Merchant explains, adding that Australia was his chosen destination.

After many unsuccessful job applications, on a whim, the owner of Camelot Pizza agreed to give him a trial in the kitchen. It was his first time working in a pizza shop, thrown headlong into the action of the kitchen. Fresh produce arrived every morning and every day they made their dough in readiness for the nightly rush. Shown how to cook pizza, Sabir was both a quick learner and an enthusiastic worker.

“I rode my bicycle 4km to and from my flat and work, balancing my daily free pizza (my sole meal of the day) in one hand on the way home as I rode, using the journey to memorise skills and recipes I’d learned that day.” he says.

“My time at Camelot Pizza provided me with a start in a new country, and before long I had made friends, established myself, and my English had improved.”

Chef Merchant’s knowledge of Italian cuisine expanded when, just over a year later, he worked at Andiamo’s in Conrad Jupiter’s Casino (now The Star), refined even further during his three years at Palazzo Versace under Head Chef Steve Szabo.

Insatiably curious, Sabir’s thirst for knowledge also led him to realise the importance of Italian food to the Australian public as our favourite non-Asian cuisine.

Sabir and his wife Dolly chose the growth suburb of Ormeau to open their restaurants, Garlic Clove Indian bringing us the food of their homeland, and Green Olive Italian, both situated close to the highway in small suburban shopping centres off major thoroughfares.

“We’re finding that our two businesses bring customers to each other,” Sabir tells us, the bonus being that while they draw diners from the same local area, their different but complementary cuisines mean that they are not competing for business.

While pizza will always be a crowd favourite, it’s well worth trying both pasta and main courses at Green Olive. There is so much deliciousness at Green Olive Italian; tasty, generous portions of great Italian food at very keen prices. Besides food, it is the charming, gracious service from owners Dolly and Sabir that makes this such a gem of a place.

NOTE: Blank was a guest of Green Olive Italian on one occasion. Follow @foodgoldcoast for more.

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