This was an experience to understand, enjoy and ponder fine food, but good food is beyond its core culinary ingredients. Olive Bar and Kitchen, a by reservation only eatery by AD Singh- food entrepreneur who redefined the hospitality experience in post liberalisation India, is a Mediterranean place next to the Qutub, sharing space on 1 Style Mile with Sabyasachi and Ritu Kumar’s boutique. An old fort like structure next to Qutub Minar renovated to an open courtyard style restaurant, all whitewashed to present that quintessential Mediterranean feel, with lengthy shadows of old trees lending a comforting shade in the neue Delhi Summer, with the spring retreating in ferocity. In this of this weather, we chose for an indoor seat by the window. While we observed the Delhi diplomatic and fashion elite swagger and strut their way in to crowd the salad counters. While i indulged in Sangria liberally and butter sautéed prawns, it seemed a works as contrasting a scene to Migrant colonies in east Delhi. A world with characters off a page on Fox Life HD or Harpers Bazaar.
The food was world class, comparable to Mezze, a similar Mediterranean buffet outlet in the Singaporean city centre. My partner and me chose to nibble almost everything on offer, from ham sandwiches to pork belly sausages. We were however a bit too partial to the sausages, succulent and very well done.
The bill was pricey as the patrons stepping off the chauffeur driven Audis. The designer shades and well trimmed hair styles were almost off a fashion catalog at an Orchard Road Mall. The finely dressed women were very busy with the selfie documentation for their Instagram feeds and their hair, ofcourse as the breeze was crisscrossing the courtyard.
The brunch is a sociological window into the Delhi power set, as the location is geographical coordinates are next door to a cluster of urban villages in Mehrauli, with posters plastered for the Akali Dal organisational poll. The place is a case study in gentrification, almost like Punggol in Singapore. Food is Politics as Anthony Bourdain says for his food program ‘Parts Unknown’, which is an anthropological enterprise.
Most of the service staff was super prompt and courteous mainly from the North East. The Chefs on the live counter were from local hospitality schools in Punjab, as I spoke to a young man fresh from chef school, evident from his manning of the ham sandwich counter.
A true celebration of ‘New India’ in the words of Sula Wines Founder, Mr Rajeev Samant. This ‘New India’ as New School Creative Writing Professor Siddhartha Deb wrote in his 2011 memoir of New India- ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’ is one filled with all sorts of characters.
The pancake with maple syrup was perfect to polish off the meal, as the explosion in my debit card could not take off the feel good tinge in the head. This is an affirmative, right?