Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli revisited


The gorgeous Dilli ki Sardi continues, albeit, a lot abated. What better way to make the most of it than eat out; at a restaurant with loose white pebbled floor, over lots of talking and good food! Skeety did just that at Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli, where she sampled some of the offerings of the new chef, Sujan Sarkar. He has taken over what was Chef Saby’s stronghold and is wooing diners with his food artistry.
Sujan brings in a lot of zing to the food at Olive. If Skeeter has to sum up Chef Sujan Sarkar’s vegetarian food in a line it would be this: Basic vegetables cooked and served with varied elements carefully weaved together to make the dish a work of art.
A wild mushroom tortellini had Skeeter floored at the onset. It has a robust flavour (hail the morels)and the presentation was at par with the taste. Nothing could comfort soul and sight more. Oh and the brioche served with it made for an excellent pairing!

Next came the Deep fried Brie with marinated beetroot, mandarin, apricot pûrée and rocket leaves. The thing about cheese is that when you cook it, it needs to be served at the right temperature. You either hit the spot or miss it. The brie was perfect and the accompaniments made it better, especially the marinated beetroot. Skeets is a big beet fan anyway. 
Gnocchi served up right in the cast iron skillet on a wooden tray was a treat to the eyes. Just like your mom would bring it to the dining table at home! It tasted perfect and had Chef Sujan’s creative skills written all over it. The gnocchi came with broccoli and was tossed in a blue cheese sauce and sprinkled with garlic crumbs for a superb finish. Divine!

The wood oven roasted pumpkin stole the show at the table. It came with green beans, a dollop of creamy mascarpone labneh, a sprinkle of black quinoa seeds, popped amaranth, a dash pumpkin seeds, a slather of apricot purée, and pumpkin seed oil mimosa. The dish has eleven elements and is a killer if you are a pumpkin fan. If you are not it has the strength to turn you into one. Chef Sujan has pretty much an Indian mind {using many elements (read masalas) to make a star of a dish} but has tweaked it in an international style. While most Indian food is a resultant blend of many masalas, Sujan serves up the many ingredients in a dish in such a way that they taste superb. You can see them all and yet the clubbing of them make a single dish a star. So you know exactly what went into the making. Skeeter could go on… 

The garden vegetable primavera had handmade spinach fettuccine tossed with vegetables, pesto and pine nuts. The handmade fettuccine’s texture was a revelation as the flour had semolina mixed in it to give it a crunch. Also, it would retain its texture for a greater time period as compared to total APF. The pesto in which it was tossed tasted fresh and the dish was decadent. It was served with a truffle mash potato on the side. 
For dessert we had a Mille feuille of strawberry with strawberry sorbet, strawberry and mascarpone mousse. It was every girl’s dream dessert. Skeeter wanted to take it home, freeze it and frame it 😀 
The signature dark chocolate fondant was well plated but nothing to write home about. Also, do try their petit fours which come in a striking peacock blue box containing butter cookies, honeycomb, chocolate bombs with Callebaut goodness and a stack of macaroons. Go for it!
P.S. You are likely to experience a visible change in the staff. They know what they are serving and would come and politely introduce themselves to you. A good sign, I say.

Of Raclette and chocolate at Hyatt Regency, Delhi

Delhi winters are coming to an end and Skeeter hates bidding good bye to winters. All fatty (read yum) foods are best enjoyed in Dilli ki Sardi. So Skeeter decided to bid adieu to Delhi winters 2013-14 in style. A Stammtisch dinner at Hyatt Regency, Delhi did it for her. No one eats cheese like the Swiss and the French do. And you know you are in good hands when a Swiss chef is taking care of you. Skeeter met chef Marin Leuthard who has put together the Stammtisch menu after some pondering over which cheeses to include, what would his patrons like and so on.
Stammtisch is a friendly dinner over conversation, great wine and food. It originated in Germany where regulars meet at a table reserved for them one particular day of every week. They debate/talk on various topics. At Hyatt, there is a long table for 12 reserved for the Stammtisch where people can meet, greet and eat. There can be strangers on the table too! All unite for food and talk.

Our table on the day we visited had a rather small gathering but a rather interesting conversation that ranged from the preferred cheeses of the Swiss, to Raclette that we sampled later, on to the delightful Swiss chocolates and much more.
The buffet menu is pretty wide and changes on a rotaional basis so that guests coming back get ample variety to savour. Skeeter shall share her three favourites from the Hyatt’s Stammtisch menu.

Raclette is a Swiss cheese which is nothing short of poetry for the way it is had. You heat it over a special Raclette grill or a pan, scrape off a melted portion onto a plate. Baby potatoes, Rosti (a swiss potato pancake),  gherkins, pickled onions and dried meat are the usual accompaniments. It is so famous that almost every Swiss household has a Raclette grill. Raclette is made from cow’s milk and there are a couple of stories associated with it, the most prominent one being that the farmers had it as a nutritious meal. They would leave the cheese near the fire and go to work to come back to a melted Raclette, which, they would then have with bread. Buy the story or not, do go to Hyatt for the Raclette experience. You can skip the Rosti they serve it with or ask for a non oregano-ed/herbed version of the same. Skeeter bets it would taste better without those.
Skeeter’s next favourite was the Spatzle. It is dish which surfaces in many German, Swiss and Hungarian meals(pre-packed ones are available too). Spatzle is essentially a homemade egg dumpling which was super soft and was served with some Emmental cheese and topped with fried onions. Yum!
A white chocolate bark studded with almonds had Skeeter floored towards the end of the meal. It was showcased brilliantly: unevenly broken barks of Swiss milk chocolate with almonds clumped together in glass. It tasted great and had great visual appeal. Have never loved white chocolate like the way I did at Hyatt.
Oh and there was a fab cake spiked with Kirsch too!