Friday, 5 January 2018

Winter Menu at Olive Bar & Kitchen: Inspired by a Walk in the Forest

If there is one seasonal menu that I look forward to, it is at Olive Bar & Kitchen. Chef Dhruv Oberoi is as much an artist as he is a genius in the kitchen. While he does gastronomic justice to the fabulous produce that he works with, one can also envision him sketching out the gorgeous plating of each dish while he guides an enthusiastic team that is busy executing every element on a plate to perfection.

When he says that this menu is all about minimalism I find it a little hard to believe since every dish has a range of elements that take classic combinations several notches up, making it ‘gastro art’! “Although we have stuck to classic combinations we have played around with textures and presented simple ingredients in novel ways,” he explains as he introduces the newest dishes on the menu. Burrata and tomato for instance has taken the form of Burrata Tatin where creamy burrata is served on a crispy pastry layered with pesto and comes with a delicious tomato jam on the side. The combination may be traditional but the execution is very modern. The heirloom tomato and strawberry salad too tastes as refreshing as it looks. But this is just the beginning.

Appetisers
Clockwise from top left:
Burrata Tatin; Heirloom Tomato and
Strawberry Salad; Mushroom Duxelles; Pastrami and Oxtail. 

The appetisers are as gourmet as it gets! The roulade of milky mushrooms in Mushroom Duxelles is served with an almost addictive split truffle emulsion. The accompanying white asparagus not only balances the flavour of the dish but its crunchy bite adds a wonderful texture as well. Chef Dhruv shares that in this winter menu he has also used different cuts of meat. The Ham Hock is a good cut of pork that is sherry glazed and served with Hokkaido scallops and vanilla fennel marmalade. My companion enjoyed the crispy oxtail with spice crusted smoked tenderloin pastrami. Here the accompaniments are mustard caviar and pickled cream. Although everything sounds very fancy, trust me, it is simply delicious.

Top: Pulled Pork Casoncelli.
Bottom L-R: Arroz Nero; Grains and Mushroom. 

Even though the plating is beautiful, inspired by a walk in the forest, it is the taste of the food that one ultimately gushes about. When a hearty bowl of millets and Arborio rice, cooked in truffle paste garnished with parmesan, mascarpone, and a selection of winter mushrooms is as comforting as the squid ink risotto with Spanish bomba rice and caramelized onion broth you know that chef has chosen to serve food that is appropriate for the season. And what can spell winter better than a Glazed lamb Ossobucco Cassoulet, cross cut foreshank of lamb slow braised with winter beans and lentils! The choice is extensive. From the candy wrapper shaped casoncelli pasta stuffed with pulled pork, with sage parmesan cream, charred citrus, roasted beets and toasted almonds to the Chilean sea bass glazed with fermented corn and honey, garnished with borage leaves, house matured black garlic, and kataifi parsnip there is literally something for everyone on this menu. And of course, the usual favourites including the freshly baked breads and woodfired pizzas continue to be hot-sellers.

Top: Chilean Sea Bass.
Bottom L-R: Hokkaido Scallop with Glazed Ham Hock; Lamb Ossobucco. 

Regulars would also know that amongst the desserts, the tiramisu of every new season is awaited with much anticipation. While the summer menu had it presented as an icecream bar, now version 8.0 comes with a cocoa dusted cannoli that looks like a cigar and tiramisu itself is in the shape of an ashtray. But if you’re willing to stray away from your love of coffee, try A Perfect Mess – it is an homage to the English Eton Mess with thin strips of meringue that looks like egg shells, a soft-centred vanilla blancmange along with varying textures of macerated strawberries.

A Perfect Mess

If the food that I’ve described so far is not enough of a temptation, go there for the vibe. Whether you sit indoor or the white-pebbled courtyard, Olive really is an all-season restaurant. And yes, it is also perfect whether you want a romantic evening out or lunch with the kids, celebrating an occasion or simply looking for good food. If I could choose I would kick-start my weekend a li’l early – with the live band on Thursday evenings.  

Details:
Olive Bar & Kitchen Address, One Style Mile, Haveli no. 6-8, Kalkadass Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi – 110030.
Timings: Lunch 12pm - 3.30pm; Dinner 7.30pm - 12pm
Meal for two: Lunch 1500++; Dinner: 2200++
Phone : 011-29574444 / 3; 9810235472.