Olive Bar and kitchen is one of my favourite restaurants in Delhi. It always has been, and if the restaurant continues to serve the kind of food I had the pleasure of eating earlier this week, it always will be!
This stunner of a restaurant is located in the Qutub Area in South-Delhi and has apparently completed ten years of operations. I honestly didn’t realise it had been that long. But, well, considering I can’t even recall when the first time was that I visited and dined here, it really must be true.
Over the years, what has always remained constant is the appeal of the ambience and the quality of the food. I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve ever had a meal here that was not wonderful.
The rustic Haveli with its gorgeous white pebbled courtyard is perfect for a scenic al-fresco meal; the white distressed walls with azure blue furnishing in the indoor section, the candlelit tables and the dim lighting, all create an aura that is comforting, welcoming, and just plain lovely. I only wish the music had been a tad bit better. While the place is going for a soothing and relaxed vibe, we could do without the odd spa/salon music they were playing on repeat the whole time we were there.
Chef de cuisine Sujan Sarkar launched a new Summer Menu at Olive a few months ago, full of colourful, seasonal produce and light ingredients, all locally sourced. Come to think of it, we Indians are pretty lucky these days, with the kind of talent we’re seeing in the culinary circuit. He had consecutive nominations for National Chef of the Year and London Chef of the Year, and was associated with some of the biggest names in the London Restaurant business. But Chef Sujan is now here, at Olive Bar and Kitchen, cooking up a storm for the gluttons of Mumbai and Delhi.
The Amouse Bouche was so delicious; I could have made an entire meal out of it. A pumpkin cracker, with goat cheese crumble and sun-dried tomatoes, served with tiny little glasses of Pea Shoot. I wish I could have had some more.
For appetizers, on Chef Sujan’s recommendation, we went with Compressed Melon Terrine with feta cheese, pickled Kalamata olives, avocado and green apple sorbet, green peppercorns, mint and an optional topping of parma ham. Unconventional to say the least, parts of it worked for me, but some parts just didn’t. I loved the use of Melon, so quintessential a summer ingredient, and this dish had three types stuck together. It served its purpose well in being cool and refreshing, and the parma ham was lovely. But some parts of this dish were just a bit too bitter for my taste.
Absolutely heavenly, and something everyone must try, is the Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait, served with peach puree, vanilla pear, and lovely toasted pieces of brioche. It must be quite an art to make a really smooth liver pate, but a parfait this silky and this creamy, yet so delicately full of flavour was simply mind-blowing.
After a Palate Cleanser of Limoncello Sorbet (made in house by the way), we moved onto the mains.
We began with the Garden Vegetable Primavera. My companion might have felt like he was munching his way through an organic farm, but I thoroughly enjoyed the handmade spinach fettuccine, with shimeji mushroom and romanesco. Is it broccoli? Is it cauliflower? Nope, it’s I-learn-something-new-every-day Romanesco! Not to forget Pesto and Pine Nuts which if you’ve been following this blog, you would know, is one of my favourite combinations.
Up next, the Zucchini wrapped reef cod was just one contrasting component after the other that blended seamlessly into a truly heavy-weight dish. There was the steamed reef cod encased in a thin covering of zucchini, stuffed with a delicious prawn mousse, floating on a bed of this ultra-thin broth made of leek (or leek nage) which was delicious even by itself. This was topped with wisps of crispy fried leek, and served along with potato spaghetti (who would’ve thought?!). Uber thin, yet uber delicious, I can’t even begin to describe the slightly euphoric state I found myself in as I slurped these up.
I’m running out of positive adjectives, but even the Slow Cooked Belgium Pork Belly warranted its fair share. Served with carrot puree, kale and mustard glazed apple; while nowhere in the same league as its predecessor, it was quite good as well. And it came with this remarkable crackling on top, made from, believe it or not, pork skin that took three days of excessive drying to get to this state.
We finished our slow, leisurely meal with a pave of Chocolate ganache served with orange sorbet, orange jam and popcorn, as well as a classic Tiramisu. While both were good, I wasn’t as mind-blown here as I had been with some of the previous dishes. I wish I’d had the chance to try the Mango Mille Feuille, also part of the new summer menu, and much recommended.
The last word: I honestly don’t know what else to say. If you haven’t been to Olive yet, you really don’t know what you are missing out. Please don’t deprive yourself any longer. It isn’t cheap by any standards, so wait for a special occasion if you want, but please go!
So, where are you eating today?
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Olive Bar and Kitchen, but all opinions, as always, are my own.