food bloggers in 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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