I was thrilled to bits when I got an invite for a special meal previewing the Summer Menu for Olive, Qutub in Mehrauli, Delhi. I love my Mediterranean food and Olive has quite a reputation for it.
Before I go into the food let me start by saying that Olive, Qutab is one of the most romantic restaurants I’ve visited. It’s perfect to celebrate an intimate evening with that special someone in your life. White stucco walls, touches of azure blue, wonderful outdoor courtyard seating… the works- all this behind an entry that you may miss if you’re not looking out for it.
With the Summer menu, Chef Sujan, who has recently taken over the reins at Olive, aims to create innovative Mediterranean and European food that is light, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients together with some more exotic fare. When I first laid eyes on the menu, I was filled with anticipation and couldn’t wait for the food to arrive.
The tasting menu consisted of several starters, salads, a chicken and mushroom consume with chicken tortellini, an assortment of vegetarian and non vegetarian main courses and a couple of desserts. Phew, sounds like quite a lot, I know. So rather than going over every item we tasted I’ll just give you the highlights of the things I loved.
From the starters I loved the Foie gras with chicken liver parfait. It was served with brioche and it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. Each bite was like a little taste of heaven. This is a signature dish at Olive and I can see why it’s so popular. It was by far the best plate of food I ate all night.
The other starter I loved was the Goat’s cheese mousse with salt baked beetroot. The beetroot, cheese and candied walnuts worked so well together, and the rocket leaves added a nice peppery flavour to the dish.
The home cured salmon starter was a dish I was undecided about. I loved the cured salmon. It was perfection and lovely with the caviar and pickled cucumber. But I did not like the green apple water. The flavour of the apple was a little over powering for me, and it was also quite difficult to eat without a spoon. I think it may have worked better if the ‘apple water’ was served as a jelly and was a little less concentrated.
Nothing says summer like a fresh salad, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the charred baby gem and summer salad, although I did like the smoked goat curd that was served with it. I never got a chance to taste the pear and endive salad. It looked delicious. Unfortunately our servers forgot to serve this to our table, in spite of being reminded twice.
Getting to the mains… I’ll start with the vegetarian options first. Two dishes stood out. The Pave of melanzane with grilled baby zucchini and polenta was absolutely delicious. It’s not often that a vegetarian main can impress a die-hard meat eater, but this did. It was an earthy, hearty plate of food that looked too nice to eat. I also enjoyed the Fettucine in zucchini. It wasn’t a standout dish, that blew me away, but I loved its simplicity and the flavours of the parmesan and zucchini.
Each of the two seafood mains had some really great components and some which didn’t work for me. The Pan seared scallops were perfectly cooked but I found the pumpkin puree too sweet. I also didn’t think the crispy chicken was necessary. Chef Sujan explained to us that the chicken wings were meant to add the component of crispiness, but I’m not sure if it worked.
The Zucchini wrapped reef cod was absolutely delicious and the sauce it was served in was equally good. Unfortunately, although I liked the idea of potato spaghetti, I personally didn’t enjoy its texture. Also some nice crusty bread would have been nice to soak up the sauce it was served in.
Of all the main courses I tried, my favourite was the Corn fed chicken breast. I’m not really a chicken person, especially if there is beef or lamb on the table, but in this case the chicken was so good- soft, perfectly cooked and so succulent. Chef Sujan managed to transform the humble, and often boring chicken into something amazing. A wonderful plate of food that was hearty and delicate at the same time- nothing seemed out of place and the hazelnut jus tied everything together.
I liked this dish, but it didn’t blow me away. However I loved the oxtail ragout and the black garlic purée.
And now for my favourite part of a meal- Dessert! We got to taste four different desserts. Yes you heard me correctly… FOUR! I loved most of them, but the one that really stood out was the Mille Feuille of mango. And considering that the other desserts were cheesecake, Tiramisu and chocolate ganache, all of my favourites, it’s really saying a lot that I picked the mango dessert above the others. The Mille feuille of mango, to me, captured the essence of summer. It was light, the mango sorbet was a perfect balance of sweet and tart and the mango and mascarpone mousse was rich and not too sweet-Summer on a plate.
This was my least favorite dessert. To me it just didn’t work. The orange jam was too tart, the chocolate was a little too bitter and the popcorn didn’t make any sense
The baked cheesecake with passion fruit curd and passion fruit mascarpone was really good.
The tiramisu with coffee sorbet and biscotti was another really yummy dessert. Probably my second favourite dessert on the menu.
Overall I’d say that the summer menu is really exciting and definitely worth a try. Visit to celebrate a special occasion with a loved one, or simply to treat yourself to a fine dining experience and some great food.
Review Credit: Shalini Pereira
Photo Credit: Shalini Pereira
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