Mediterranean flavours come to Exmouth's Strand as El Olivo opens
By ExmouthPeople | Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 20:44
EXMOUTH HAS a new meze and tapas restaurant, bringing Mediterranean flavours to The Strand. Launched by a couple who have been living on a Greek island for the past 25 years, El Olivo was officially opened last Friday (5 April) by the Mayor of Exmouth. A week on, and bookings are flowing in…
Mediterranean magic (from left): El Olivo’s Ian Spencer, John Humphreys, mayor of Exmouth, El Olivo’s Lotta Blombergsson and Roger Bourgein, Exmouth’s town crier, officially open El Olivo, the new tapas and meze restaurant on Exmouth’s Strand
El Olivo’s Ian Spencer: “What’s on the menu? It’s tapas and meze from all around the Mediterranean, so there’s a little bit of influence from all the countries – Spain, Italy, France, Greece –and into the near East…”
John Humphreys, mayor of Exmouth, lapping up the Mediterranean atmosphere at El Olivo, the town’s new tapas and meze restaurant
Ian Spencer and Lotta Blombergsson are the couple behind El Olivo. Lotta is originally from Stockholm, Sweden, while Ian hails from Lancashire. They've been living on the Greek island of Naxos for the past 25 years, running their own restaurants. They moved to Exmouth in February.
"We wanted to be in Devon, by the coast – that's what we've been used to all those years," says Ian. "These premises – in the town's restaurant quarter – came on the market and we saw potential."
So what's on the menu at El Olivo?
"It's tapas and meze from all around the Mediterranean, so there's a little bit of influence from all the countries – Spain, Italy, France, Greece – because we've been living there for so long – and then a little bit into the near East, Lebanon and so on…"
Ian and Lotta say they aim to have a constantly changing menu, using available fresh produce to create their Mediterranean flavours. Together with a selected wine list, they hope "to generate a casual but stylish dining atmosphere".
What did opening El Olivo mean for them?
Lotta: "A new start!"
Ian: "Yes, because we've been living on Naxos for 25 years, so it's a little bit nerve-racking. We don't know what to expect, but the response has been fantastic."
El Olivo was fully booked on its opening day and they had a good first weekend. Bookings continue to flow in, and, according to Ian, this Friday (12 April) is already "looking good".
El Olivo is at 41 The Strand, Exmouth EX8 1AH. Phone: 01395 260176