Food Event | Bloggers Night @ Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi

“Happiness is…finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry.”
Johnny Carson

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New DelhiIt’s hard to say no to an invite from Olive at the Qutab. Always the promise of a fab fun filled time out, great hospitality,  innovative food and drinks, relaxed company … all that jazz! I knew I couldn’t make it. It was midweek and I don’t do late night events on weekdays, both kids were under a flu attack, there were virtual floods in the city with incessant rains. Yet Olive beckoned, and I succumbed. It was time to visit Dirty Martini!

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New DelhiIt was a perfect night out. How better to describe the ‘prohibition era‘ of the 1920′s so well captured by the immensely innovative and talented award winning Chef Saby and his team. {As dimly lit as a bar could possibly be, my low light camera skills were severely tested. I got a million shaky blurry  shots, befitting of the 1920′s! The camera was soon abandoned.}

‘The Dirty Martini”, Olive at the Qutub is a 1920s speakeasy inspired bar set in Europe. The hedonistic 1920s encouraging you to enjoy the sweet seductions of the prohibition era when cocktails were served in tea cups; and where live bands, silent cinema and floor shows marked entertainment. An era of molls and gangsters, of flappers and flamboyance.

The menu offers a combination of “speakeasy inspired” concoctions and European cocktails which are twisted, tweaked and crafted for The Dirty Martini at Olive Qutub’. The Dirty Martini is India’s first “speakeasy inspired” bar and not a “speakeasy”.

The tradition of Speakeasies is rooted in the time of prohibition in the US. They were basically illegal bars which usually had a secret back door entry through dirty alleys, tricky doors and basements and access to which was screened or through passwords. A speakeasy brings to mind a smoky bar with bluesy music, dancing to a jazz combo, aromas of comfort food wafting out from the kitchen and a fun, relaxed celebratory atmosphere. Bars where drinks were served in tea cups and the bar could be hidden at the touch of a button.

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New DelhiIt’s a beautiful recreation, a step back in time to capture the fascinating era. We were greeted by warm cups of mulled wine in mud glasses {Chef Saby’s stamp all over}. A typical back door entry {through the kitchen}, we ‘stumbled‘ into the dimly lit quintessentially ‘speakasy‘ ambiance. Extravagant décor accentuated with lavish mirrors, art deco furniture and lamp shades, a piano … and the beautiful Olga who crooned out 1920′s music !

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New DelhiA Smoking Gin made it’s way over, beautifully presented, and as always, perfect to the ‘t’. Very Olive & very intriguing!! Classic and contemporary martinis, beer bottles wrapped in brown paper bags, 20′s floral cups and saucers to clandestinely serve cocktails … every detail covered!

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New DelhiDirty Martini is run by a team of young talented chefs headed by Chef Dhruv Oberoi who has just returned after training with Chefs Ferran Adria and Albert Adria of the El Bulli fame! The food is inspirational .. and of course ‘eat easy’! Classic sliders, hot dogs, finger foods, the menu focuses on fresh produce and easy to eat food. Finger licking good too with inventive names that do a merry dance in the head.

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New DelhiBig Boss Toast which kicks the taste buds with goat cheese, chili jam and berries, a Shebeen Sandwich with Harissa, artichokes, feta pate and apricot chutney … good food, fresh and flavourful! The TDM Chicken, batter fried and yum, served with chipotle mayo. Delicious … as was the Shrimp Jammer. Another huge favourite was the Gangster Slider … perfect flavours to the tenderloin patty!

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi One of my favourites was the soul warming and indulgent Godfather’s Stew. Casablanca was the vegetable version – seven veggies in there, and the non vegetarian version, the Starving Mafia, a slow cooked lamb goulash that hit the ball out of the park. Both outstanding! {Sangeeta managed to get the goulash recipe from ever obliging and large hearted Saby.}

Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi Prohibition ended sweetly with desserts that warmed up the winter night! The Smoking Cigar … a  chocolate fountain gurgled happily as ‘live churros’ were piped into a huge bowl of simmering oil. Little glassfuls of chocolate sauce were on offer. Nice, but what I absolutely loved was the Nutty Auntie ; charming little apple and walnut tarts with a drizzle of maple! ’twas a night to remember!Dirty Martini, Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi

Thank you Saby, Astha and Dhruv for this fabulous journey back into time. No one can do it better than Olive!

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Blog Event | BlogAdda Food Workshop with Chef Saby & his team at Olive Qutub, with Juberfam & Mittal

“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.”
Marcus Tulius Cicero

Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, 22Sep 2012, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiCan’t believe we’re already looking at the end of September. A sense of panic hits me at this time every year; why does time fly so? Hard to believe that October is knocking at the door, still so much to do and so much pending work! Hanging on to the wings of time, here’s a post that’s on my list-of-things-to-do FAST – Cook & Style with Chef Saby, Chef Saurabh & Chef Astha.Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, DelhiIt was a food workshop jointly hosted by BlogAdda.com, Juberfam & Mittal & Olive Qutub. As promised, it was an afternoon of fun, food art, food tips, recipes demos, live cooking, pizza tossing, meeting other food bloggers and food enthusiasts.Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, DelhiThis was Blogaddas first foray into the real world in north India, and the workshop followed two recently held similar events in Bangalore & Mumbai. I was fortunate to be interviewed by Blogadda a while ago, and was glad to finally meet the face behind my earlier interaction, the affable Harish! Sagarika was there too, and she joined Harish in playing the perfect host!

BlogAdda.com is the largest community of bloggers in India. We provide a platform to showcase Indian bloggers and help them promote to a large audience. BlogAdda has features that helps bloggers connect to other bloggers thereby forming a powerful network. For readers, there is a brilliant variety of content aggregated in a variety of useful forms.

Juberfam & Mittal gourmet products It was also an opportunity to experience a gourmet range of products from Juberfam & Mittal, which is bringing in high quality products essentially from Spain to India for the F & B industry as well as the FMCG consumer. The line includes the best quality of Olive Oil & Olive fruit, Pate & Sea Salts, Tuna Fish in Olive Oil,  Cold Cuts,  Smoked Paprika, Beverages, Natural Cosmetics.Chef Saby, Chef Saurabh & Chef AsthaChef Saby and his talented team entertained us that afternoon. Olive is known for being ever professional. Saby, ‘the man with the midas touch’ as I call him, regaled us with his stories while taking us through an excellent session of food art. That the man is amazing is an understatement, oft repeated, yet proven time & again!Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiOlive is quintessentially charming. Dappled sunlight on soft arm chairs. A white pebbled courtyard punctuated by bougainvillea, that stands under a vast canopy of the Banyan tree. It is home to warm and casual elegance. This Moghul mansion turned alfresco Mediterranean restaurant was rated as one of the world’s best new restaurants by Conde Nast Traveler.Chef Saby,Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiAt the helm of affairs is one of India’s best rated chefs, Sabyasachi Gorai, or as popularly called Chef Saby! Conferred the Best Chef of India by the President of India in 2012, he never ceases to amaze … and never tires of keeping his guests entertained!Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, 22Sep 2012, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiEvery visit to Olive throws up something new about him. This time he astounded us with his food art demonstration. Edible art at it’s creative best, you could see that he belongs to a family of artists, and is a graduate in art and management! So many feathers to his cap!!Chef Saby,Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, Delhi

Art of the plate is a form of expression of a modern day food artist who is also a chef”

Art on a pate - Chef Saby,Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiAt Olive it’s called ‘Art on the plate‘, a plate of food you could eat with your eyes, a story that you connect with instantly … and a window into Saby’s interesting world! The winter dessert with snowman was created from one such experience, and this platter forms the Olive winter dessert on a plate.  CUTE little snowman with bellies FULL of rum and raisins, a triple chooclate mousse tree, whipped cream snow and marzipan fir trees!Art on a pate - Chef Saby,Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiThen there was the main course  monsoon platter with a herb marinated grilled fish with tomato mousse and smoked paprika from Juberfam & Mittal, beautifully plated on a ‘Gurgaon’ stone. The surprise element was a fishing net made of egg that covers the platter. A light drizzle of red caviar completed the dramatic look!Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, 22Sep 2012, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiThe menu that afternoon celebrated some of Jubarfam & Mittals best offerings. The winners were clearly the vinegars based in fruit pulp. Creativity packaged in pretty bottles, the flavours celebrated tomato, passion fruit and mango! We had some whisked with olive oil in a dressing that Chef Saurabh made. Excellent!Close second was the range of infused extra virgin olive oils . Saby cooked up a simple pasta with garlic and chilly infused EVOO. Simplicity at it’s best with flavours that made you sit up and take notice! We also sampled some excellent La Chinata Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Olives famous pav bread. Paired with sea salt, it was  a marriage made in heaven! {was happy to note that Juberfam & Mittal are bringing only extra virgin olive oil into India, and not pomace. } Exotic Mushroom Risotto,  Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiThe best risotto ever, Exotic Mushroom Risotto was served once again {like at our last visit}. It forms part of the handpicked Mediterranean classic dishes that appear on the menu put together by Chef Saby.  Keeping us good company that afternoon was alcohol free wine Enmia Zero, though the Sangria was quite popular too!Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, 22Sep 2012, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhITowards the end we had a little talk on food blogging by yours truly where I talked a little about blogging tips, focus, my inspiration, carbon footprint, food photography, recipes, content and quality of content on food blogs.Apple Cinnamon Quark CakeI spoke about the fall cake above that I made inspired by the season, apples and my love for making soft cheese especially quark and mascarpone. The layered cake is a recipe I developed recently for an ongoing project … and it was really really nice {if I may say so myself}!Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, 22Sep 2012, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhIRekha was also a panelist and she discussed food photography, her forte being to make healthy food look good, her journey into food blogging and basic rules of a good photograph. The session ended with Ritu, an author who spoke about her experience with getting her books published {she writes fiction and is 2 books old, and on her way to completing two more}. Her insights were invaluable for anyone who might be considering writing a book. Desserts,Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiIt was then time for dessert and once again it showcased the immense talent that Saby and his team hone! Each dessert was a showstopper. I had a dark chocolate mousse {thanks to sweet Astha who got me a serving as I was very busy talking}, and then a piece of carrot cake I grabbed after Saby said he uses only butter in his carrot cake! Divine! Pizza, Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, Delhi

Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, DelhiThe evening ended with a pizza tossing session at the open wood fired oven in the white bricked courtyard. Wonderful experience with Saby who held court sharing tales of pizza tossing competitions, training, his experiences and much more!Blogadda Workshop @ Olive, DelhiIt was time to bid adieu and we left with Juberfam and Mittal goodie bags with EVOO, alcohol free wine, olives and the wonderful wonderful smoked paprika, and Chef Saby’s famous bottle cake & handmade chocolates. {I cooked with the paprika today. Made chicken & mushroom puff pastry pie. The paprika smoked with oak wood smoke has an amazing aroma, and is used in some of the finest kitchens across the globe.}

Thank you Blogadda {Harish & Sagarika}, Olive {Saby, Saurabh & Astha} and Juberfam & Mittal {Mr & Mrs Mittal} for playing such wonderful hosts. It was a memorable afternoon indeed!

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Culinary Event | Up Close and Personal with Chef Saby & Leonardo … & Sizzling Gamba {recipe}

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”
Mae West

We were brought believing that too much of a good thing is bad! Times have clearly changed and with good times come dispelled notions! Our afternoon at the decidedly charming Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli sponsored by Leonardo Olive Oil was nothing short of magic.

{Warning: Long post}
Leonardo Olive Oil @ Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli Nine Delhi food bloggers, Italian cuisine and olive oil that flowed nonstop, celebrity Chef Saby with his passionate efficient team, warm and light hearted hosts Himani & Chandana, and one of my favourite eating places OLIVE – it was food heaven under one roof! Four hours with one of India’s top 10 chefs passed by in a heartbeat!Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiI’m an ardent admirer of the super talented Chef Saby. Having missed a couple of opportunities to see him create culinary magic, this was one event that I wasn’t going to miss. Apprehensive about meeting a guy who has won just about every chef award in India, cooked for India’s top families like the Bachchans & Ambanis, someone inspired by Sydneys Tetsuya, he instantly put us at ease. Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi

 Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiI walked in on the dot of 12 noon, the given time … everything was ready, in place and waiting. Have been to events before where apparently a wait of 30 minutes+ is seemingly acceptable. Not so here. The anti pasti counters gleamed invitingly, Leonardo flavouring the spreadapple relish, onion & chili jam, mushroom pate, hummus, Caprese salad, the exotic cheese platter, stuffed little red peppers with whipped feta {my favourite}, Leonardo olives, more olives, cured meats …Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi Himani Dalmia, Senior Manager Corporate, Leonardo and Chandana Paul went out of the way to make us live the experience – Up Close and Personal with Chef Saby and Leonardo”! It was soon time for Olive fish & chips, asparagus the vegetarian option! Crisp & delicious! Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiThe Chef? Jack of all trades and master too, wonderful human being, as level headed as he is large hearted, ever smiling, humorous, an engaging speaker, fantastic team leader, eagle eyed, perfectionist … too many adjectives but it’s impossible to describe the man in a few words! His accolades speak for him – Best Chef of India Awarded by President of India, National Tourism Award, 2011-12, Director of Kitchens – ai, lap, olive qutab, olive beach , the moving kitchen by olive yet so down to earth! {He even walked us to the porch and waited for our respective cars to come}.Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi

For him, cooking is an art, the ultimate form of expression. “The platter is my canvas and the food ingredients, my colour!” … in the case of this artist you can eat his art. At Olive, he brings his love for all things culinary to life as he cooks right in front of the guests at a rustic kitchen called the Greenhouse on the Ridge. His recipes, as always, satiate and leave guests asking for more.

He threw his kitchen open to us, patiently guiding us into every nook and cranny {it was buzzing at lunch}, explaining kitchen procedures, chef training, sourcing fresh produce … the works! Once inside the cold room, you can imagine the grin when we saw the Padano! If we could have lifted that 40kg block of cheese we would have run for it!Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiThe menu for the day demonstrated different uses of Leonardo products – pasta, green and black olives, India’s first non-alcoholic beer, and olive oil of course! Non stop banter and photographs continued while discussing olive oil, the myths particularly surrounding pomace, the changing face of ‘food on our table’ … Pasta Marinare @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiOlive oil is the juice of the olive, the only oil on the market that is extracted from a fresh fruit is universally accepted as the healthiest of all edible oils. Adding olive oil to your diet is the easiest change you can make towards a healthier lifestyle. I ♥ olive oil! Mr V N Dalmia @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiLeonardo Olive Oil the first Indian brand of olive oil introduced in 2003 is a brand owned by Dalmia Continental Private Limited the flagship company of VN Dalmia {seen above; he joined us for lunch}. It offers four of the finest versions – Leonardo Gold, Leonardo 100% Pure Olive Oil, Leonardo Olive Pomace Oil and Leonardo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The product list includes Leonardo Olives, Hudson Canola Oil, Granora Pasta, Indian pickles too.

Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi

Photo courtesy Rekha @ http://www.mytastycurry.com/

By the time we were done, we were ready to burst, yet Saby could have hypnotised us to eat another marathon round! He held us in good humour woven around the food and drinks, gently introducing each variety of olive oil used in the menu from batter fried asparagus shoots and basa fish, to the mind blowing apple & feta saladLeonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi… to moorishly beautiful fresh baked artisan skillet bread {close to the Indian pav something like I recently made, but up several notches} served with individual pestle and mortals to make your own olive oil dip {YUM} …Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi… melt in the mouth classical lasagna Bolognaise in a skillet, followed by black truffle porcini risotto {excellent was the word} …Black truffle porcini risotto … and then a variety of wood fire pizzasMarinara pizza; Asparagus, smoked Scarmoza cheese, walnuts, Parmesan, truffle oil; Spinach, sundried tomato, olives, feta; Pepperoni jalapeno; Olive’s signature Milano paper pizza … fresh from the rustic oven in the courtyard of this picturesque restaurant.Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiHe has us eating out of his hands, all this while his super efficient team set up the dessert counter and had us hopelessly distracted! I’m definitely a small eater but I was amazed at how far I stretched it. How could there possibly be so much deliciousness on a single day? I am proud to say I tasted everything, well almost  … Sizzling Gamba @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiI’ve never had a gamba before, not always food adventurous, but having it stirred under your nose does something to your taste buds. Mouthwatering and sizzling good, I loved the way it was served? Beautiful flavours, the undertones of olive oil marrying the ingredients so well, the freshness of the produce and the passion of the chef! {You an find the recipe at the bottom}Tiramisu @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiOlives signature tiramisu made with inhouse mascarpone had me swooning! It was delightful, as was the praline mud cake! I regret that I didn’t get as far as the apple & walnut crumble with the stunning spun sugar! Desserts @ Tiramisu @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhiSaby or Chef Sabyasachi Gorai is the Executive Chef at Olive in Delhi. Launched in 2003 by AD Singh, Olive was immediately chosen as one of the world’s best new restaurants. One of Delhi’s must visit eat out places offering hand picked recipes from the Mediterranean, overlooking the romantic Qutab Minar, it is housed in an ancient Mughal mansion.Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New DelhChic in every way -  the old world character beautifully blends with the rustic charm of old wood, vintage furniture, light furnishings, an open courtyard, indoor eating places, a terrace sit out overlooking the monument … and of course, the ancient banyan tree! {Thank you Sangeeta for clicking me clicking Olive}Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi My deep love for the vintage feel and distressed wood makes me love this place!  The Olive Bar and Kitchen is a rustic hideaway where good food, laughter, culture and conversation come together in a delightful Mediterranean melting pot. Leonardo Olive Oil Meet @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi Thank you Himani and Chandana for playing the perfect hosts on behalf of Leonardo, and for the generous goodie baskets!Leonardo Olive Oil Meet - Goodie basketsThank you Saby, Vaibhav and Astha for the outstanding food, warmth and fun you served up, and for the ‘bottle cakes‘ and chocolates …Bottle Cakes @ Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli, New Delhi …and thank you Sid for being the glue that binds the Delhi food bloggers together!

 

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