I literally took my mother with me for a Friday morning at Olie & Ari. You know when you think going on a weekday will mean an opportunity for noiseless reflection? That doesn’t happen in Brighton. The women have babies aplenty and they take them places. Like Olie & Ari, which struggles under the weight of all those diamond encrusted nappies.
There is a lot of complaining in this judgement, so before you go trudging through it, let it be known that I think Olie & Ari is, on measure, an excellent eatery. That said …
Being Brighton, parking and general road rules are tricky, but if you manage to find a place to squeeze in between the Audi Q7s and Porsche Cayennes do head directly to Olie & Ari. The fitout is beaut – industrial in its exposed brickwork, but cosy in its polished boards and various nooks. With a leafy outlook over Were Street (one of Brighton’s most illustrious avenues) from a seat at the window, it is somewhere I can imagine sitting all day, writing stories about the time I fell in love in Paris or would have if I could just get over my incredible fear of flying.
But it is not to be.
I don’t want to appear unfairly negative towards women in mothers groups, with their shiny hair and expensive handbags and babyccinos, but they do kind of ruin everything for everyone. My mum is known for her sensitive ear holes, and whilst Olie & Ari was a peaceful place when I arrived, by 9:30am it was like the worst kind of rock concert (yes, Nickelback). The noise is astounding. It ricochets off every wall and dances in the highest part of the ceiling, and I am not an old person but I had to ask mum to scream at the top of her lungs just so that I could ignore the daft things she was saying.
The great din may have annoyed us, but it wreaked total havoc on the staff. A mysterious latte came to our table, and though we initially sent it away I later watched as mum went chasing after the waiter, pleading that she would have it (despite being a flat white gal) if it meant she would have caffeine in her at the end. Footnote: a second latte arrived at the end of our meal, and as we insisted we hadn’t ordered it the people at the next table could be overheard saying, “why do they keep missing our order?” Both lattes were on our bill at the end.
The hot chocolate is something of a masterpiece, however. Maybe write your order on a piece of paper and pass it to the wait staff?
Noise and ordering fiasco aside, the food at Olie & Ari is brilliant. I had poached eggs with smashed avocado and haloumi (and mushrooms, which never arrived). The eggs were well poached, and the avocado had been smashed with a very nice fetta indeed. But the haloumi stole the show. You know how haloumi is mostly a bit like a chewy musical instrument? It’s delicious, but as previously discussed it’s rubbery and squeaky. The cheese on offer here is worlds apart. Soft and creamy, it crumbles like an emotional teenager.
This was the third time I had been to Olie & Ari, and I can’t fault the food, but the noise is a serious hinderance to a relaxing breakfast. Saturday and Sunday mornings are akin to standing on a Mumbai sidewalk. But make the effort to get there early in the morning, or on a Tuesday, and you will be very glad you did.