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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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India



Blog Event | Our MasterChef Australia moment … Breakfast with George Colambaris at Olive Beach, New Delhi

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Radner

Breakfast at Olive with the MasterchefsThe Best thing in life is ‘the unexpected’. Pinch me, was I dreaming? This was one of those days. Didn’t think in our wildest dreams that we’d get an opportunity to meet up with Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris of MasterChef Australia. They’ve created tsunami like waves in India on a multi-city visit promoted by the Aussie government. Savouring Indian food from fine dining to street food, rickshaw rides, book signings, farm visits, jalebis & malpuas, chai & much more, miles of newspaper columns ran daily accounts of their India trip! The Bloggers Table was honoured to be a small part of the visit.

Delhi Bloggers Table with George Colambaris, Aussie MasterchefWhat Masterchef Australia has done to food in India is HUGE! Schedules were built around the MC TV slots, dinner appointments cancelled, generations glued to the telly to watch the euphoria and emotional drama unfurl; a strange sense of disbelief as the youngest to the oldest sat united in viewership. Uncanny but true. The show changed the way we perceived food, especially the ability to home cook & create! A generation of young culinary enthusiasts were born, while ‘resident’ cooks became innovative and adventurous!

Astha @ Breakfast at Olive with the MasterchefsSo when we heard the duo were visiting there was a song in the heart, yet a good meeting seemed out of reach. It was Astha’s hesitant call late one evening that nearly had me pass out. She asked if I was free on Friday to meet Gary & George. I almost died! Free? I was already doing a crazy jig. The kids were duly warned not to fall  sick on Friday, the 27th!!

with George ColambarisThis is what dreams are made of. The invite was for an informal breakfast with Australia MasterChefs Gary & George hosted by the folk we love to love –  good old Saby {Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, India’s top chef}, the very sweet Chef Astha at the wonderful Olive – chic, rustic and warm!

Breakfast at Olive with the MasterchefsInformal breakfast with Gary & George strictly by invitation only? You will not believe how I shot up in my teens eyes. Suddenly from screams of “No, you’re kidding, don’t tell me, not possible…”  to “YOU ARE???” Then it was a L O N G list of friends who wanted autographs … 

Olive Beach, New Delhi The day was truly the best in a long time. Love the idea of a breakfast meet where everyone walks in chirpy, bright & happy, tea and coffee are on the boil, good moods bubbling happily and clear headed mindless chatter takes over!

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchefs‘Olive Bar & Kitchen’ never fails to deliver. The hospitality, the punctuality, the attention to detail, the warmth, the camaraderie … so characteristic of this beautiful place! 

As always, we were greeted by ‘ever charming‘ Astha and nattily turned out Saby who is quite the best. Warm, friendly, funny, chatty, relaxed, hospitable … more about him at the Leonardo Meet & the Blogadda Workshop.

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchef, George Colambaris Sadly, Gary couldn’t make it as he got hit by the dreaded Delhi belly. George Colambaris was at his entertaining best. Spoke passionately about food, culture, the beginnings of Masterchef, Matt and his 45 minute make-up routine vs Georges own 5 minute make-overs. Oh, his love for the jalebi too, lactic fermentation and all!

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchef George ColambarisSupermarkets are for toilet paper!” You got to love this man! The audience hung on to every word he said, roaring with laughter at his witty quips. He talked about fresh seasonal produce, home cooked meals, introducing kids to ‘real’ food, growing vegetables in your backyard, how MasterChef changed his life …

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchef, George ColambarisHe took questions from the audience which included an enviable line up of all the top chefs of Delhi who had turned up in their crisp whites to meet the two. The Ozzie wit shone through, a man passionate about his Cypriot-Greek heritage {reminded of my Greek witty friend Peter @ Kalofogas} yet characteristically Aussie in every way. Laid back, honest, so grounded, he spoke from the heart!

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchef, George ColambarisHe did get flustered by a short, simple question from Ruchira, “Food or sex?”, she posed rather nonchalantly. That got him rather red under his collar and for once at a slight loss for words. The poor embarrassed guy eventually asked if there was another question! 

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchef, George ColambarisWe ate … LOTS! Good food once again, and well managed as always. Breakfast IMHO is a difficult task yet Saby & his team made it seem effortless. A sweet man piped delicious churros while masala chai did the rounds in earthen pots {a break from Olive tradition}. There was fresh fruit, cheese platters, varieties of tostadas, pigs in blankets, amuse bouches, financiers, baklava, chocolate fudge cake, nut tarts … and much more.

Breakfast at Olive with the Masterchef, George ColambarisAs you can see we really enjoyed the ‘event’ and loved the company too. Thank you Saby & Astha for thinking of us. It was truly wonderful …

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

The Best thing in life is ‘the unexepected’ as I said in the beginning. A good day got even better as I got an early Christmas from a friend and food blogger in Belgium as her sweet hub flew into Delhi for a music fest the same night. Thank you Finla for this HUGE surprise ‘sack’ of goodies you sent for me. I am at a loss for words, but brimming with ideas! I also unexpectedly won a Phillips Air Fryer at the Philips Foodathon the next day … lucks looking up!

 

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India




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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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


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