Oliver Royale is a newer restaurant in Market Square where you will find flavorful dishes with perfectly executed ingredients and delightful southern flair. Our experience here for brunch was top notch!
We have a semi-monthly date night on the calendar. Yeah, we keep it real like that. We schedule it so that in some form or another we often get quality time together – it can be a night in with takeout and a Redbox rental or a splurge on a nice dinner out, but we do try to set a monthly budget on it so that we aren’t blowing the bank on date night. At the end of last month when date night rolled around we actually opted for a brunch out for Valentine’s Day. We had enjoyed a yummy meal at home the evening before and decided to splurge a little by trying out one of the new restaurants on our ever-growing list. We made the trek to downtown and initially thought we’d finally give Knox Mason a taste, but alas they were already on a 45 minute wait, so it still sits on our list of restaurants to hit up. Our other choice was Oliver Royale whose brunch menu looked delicious and daring with entrees like Belly N’Biscuits and Eggy Bread.
Fortunately we arrived shortly after they opened and got seated immediately! Sidenote: after our outstanding meal, I was shocked with how few patrons they had, but the restaurant did slowly begin to fill up. I absolutely LOVE the Art Deco vibe of this restaurant! It has such a cool urban, yet eclectic diner feel to it. It feels very upscale and modern, but not pretentious. The design is totally symmetrical allowing for a beautiful line of sight from the front of the restaurant to the bar at the back. It’s very open so acoustically, noise can travel, but it was not loud at all. The retro globe pendant lights, large comfy black leather booths, and mercury glass mirrors gives it a subtle 1920’s feel – seriously this restaurant would easily fit in any big city like Manhattan, but no, it’s here in lil’ ol’ Knoxville. I felt so cool and posh dining here! And no wonder this places takes you back to a different era in a different city, when according to Knox News Sentinel “Most of the material was shipped from New York after being chosen by hOmE Design, an award-winning studio for the hospitality industry based in Brooklyn. The floors, however, are restored originals.”
The brunch menu served on Saturday and Sunday is a mix of “classic” breakfast items, heavier brunch foods and lunch options like sandwiches and salads. We both had a really hard time deciding on what to order because it all sounded so amazing! The chef works with local farmers to provide many of the ingredients for regular menu items – that is something that you can feel good about supporting!
Of course, no brunch is complete without a cocktail. We noted that just like the Oliver’s other local establishment – the Peter Kern Library – the Royale takes it’s cocktail notes from the Prohibition era playing further into the 1920’s vibe. Drinks from that time were flavorful and creative to mask the often unpleasant taste of bootlegged spirits. Today they still taste just as good if not even better when crafted with premium liquor.
I ordered the Woo Girl cocktail, which wasn’t listed on the above menu, but was on their website because it still sounded the best to me. Gin, Lemon, Sugar, Sparkling Red, Strawberry are combined in a tallboy. This drink was summery and refreshing – the perfect brunch cocktail in my mind. I didn’t want anything too heavy and love gin, so this thoroughly satisfied me.
Remington ordered the Scaremonga off the menu and dared to say it was the best cocktail he has ever had. Period. Vanilla Oak Rum is combined with Sweet Vermouth, Banana Liqueur, Cinnamon Syrup and Bitters topped with a Brulee Banana. Sounds like dessert in a glass! It was like drinking a bananas foster and it was delicious, but that Vanilla Oak Rum? Wowza!
For an entree, Remington ordered the Trout N’Eggs. A delicate pan seared piece of trout with fingerling hash, sunny side egg, and bacon Brussels topped with micro greens. In a word – Epic! This dish was so flavorful. The trout was done to perfection. The egg truly was sunny side up – just look at it, it’s a gorgeous egg. The fingerling hash and bacon Brussels made a delicious bed for the trout – crispy and delectable. The dish was seasoned really well and as I said cooked to perfection and just on point. We would go back in a heart beat just for this dish.
But then I ordered the Chicken N’Waffles…I don’t know why but I am a sucker for a good chicken and waffles dish. I don’t even eat fried chicken that often, but I LOVE Belgium style waffles and the play on sweet and savory is right up my alley. Well, these were lemon thyme waffles with cornflake crusted chicken and sausage gravy topped with micro greens (this guy loves his micro greens – but to be honest they really do add something). Talk about a flavor bomb. The sweet and savory lemon thyme waffles were to die for. They were perfectly fluffy and slightly crispy on the outside, but paired with the super crunchy chicken and rich gravy made it the perfect bite. I’d be remiss not to mention that while the breading had an amazing crunchy texture from the cornmeal, the chicken inside was super tender and juicy. Not only was this dish incredibly flavorful, but again, every item was done to perfection – the waffle, the chicken, the gravy. And these are all things I tend to nitpick. To top it off the little bit of syrup shot this through the park. I would die for another plate of this right now.
So basically, we left there saying that we must come back for dinner sometime soon. Our server said he normally works dinner shift and while brunch/breakfast is really good, the dinner menu is fabulous. You’ve sold us, sir. We will be back.
Check out Oliver Royale…it is definitely not to be missed – that is if you like food. At all. Yum!