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.

I ate my drink!!!

Hot chocolate at Costa is NOT passé. But, Skeeter has found a new flame, the Sao Tome Hot Chocolate at Choko la (Khan Market branch ONLY please).
Choko la (meaning let’s drink chocolate together) is Delhi’s very own chocolate boutique at Khan Market.
As she sits down one pleasant evening by the window seat, Skeety is attended by a lady with the most pleasant smile across her face.
Skeety takes eons to decide on her food and drink (as always). The lady patiently keeps an eye on Skeety to see when she is ready to place the order. A while later, she gives up on Skeety, comes to her rescue, asks her preferences, and recommends a Sao Tome (single origin hot chocolate made from cocoa beans of that region). Skeety surrenders, and to accompany the drink, she orders a Chocolate Mousse.
Eight minutes pass by. Enter, Sao Thome alongwith a piece of the chocolate in the unmolten state. Sao Tome is made with dark chocolate and contains 70 percent cocoa content. It is characterised by its firm body and distinct taste. Skeety enjoyed each sip so much, that she ended up eating her drink!
Having finished the drink and the mousse, Skeety speaks to the Manager who believes in making customers relish the ‘real’ chocolates rather than the regular Cad bar or the Fererro Rocher for that matter. Thus, he encourages all to try their Liqueur Truffles and Tanzania hot chocolate (with 73 percent cocoa content).
Skeety then moves on to meet the man behind the scenes, the chef Nikhil Baveja. After a small chat session, she asks him what would he call the specialty of the house. Ice-creams comes the reply.
According to Nikhil, they are as good as home-made ones and are freshly churned. Skeety shall wait till summers to see (read taste) it for herself.
Till then, let’s Choko la!
P.S.:The staff at the Khan Market branch do a better job than the ones at Basant Lok. The Basant Lok branch is their first one and is more sought after. Choko la at Khan Market is a new-kid-on-the-block and is doing quite well. Atleast for now.
Update: Nikhil no longer works at Choko la.

That’s the way eet ees

Pea-NUT, Blazing boy and Nearly Headless Nick, all get embarrassed when dining out with Skeeter. The reason being that she takes out either the mobile (with the flash on) or the camera and starts clicking the food before eating, after eating and just about anytime she feels like. Now Skeeter makes an innocent face with a pleading expression (I will die if I don’t kinda thingy) and mostly manages to get a “kill you” nod from them to go ahead and shoot. In between, Skeeter also gets “stop-it” stares from them. And does she love it? She does and doesn’t. Loves it because she knows that she can have liberties with them around; doesn’t love it because the pictures don’t come out nice as they keep making her feel so conscious and guilty all the time. Period.
Today, I tell you about the much-awaited visit to Side Wok @ Khan Market. Now what attracted me to this place was the location apart from the so many reviews. The galli in which it is situated, is a sleepy, lazy one. So much so that I can almost hear it yawning. And for some reason I just love to walk down that place for the heck of it. This time, I walked up, up the stairs I mean. Attractive entrance that. The ambience was a welcome change from the regulars.
The food was decent. I absolutely loved my non-alcoholic Pink Mojito. They did a good job on that. The start with the Sushi platter (vegetarian o’course) was a disaster, no matter how lovely it seemed to the eyes. A birdie tells me that Side Wok is not ‘the’ place to try Sushi for the fist time. Point taken. Next came the Phad Thai noodles and the Stir Fried Chinese Greens with Roasted Garlic. Phad Thai noodles were regular but nice. I can go back for them. The stir fry was quite authentic and delicious.
Main course done, since we were in an indulgent mood, we ordered a dessert each. I ordered Crispy Nutty Rolls with Vanilla ice cream and Pea-NUT ordered a Chocolate Mousse. The Crispy Nutty Rolls with Vanilla ice cream were too greasy and spoilt the flavour. This dessert was not treated subtly and hence the result was bad. The Chocolate Mousse was okay.
The waiters are talented. Very. They are adept at playing hide and seek, hence resulting in customers being anguished over fetching them to take the order. Well, even if that is not done on purpose, the management should assure that a waiter is visible from every damn seat.
I have a second visit lined up to this place, because I couldn’t have enough of it the first time. Besides, the menu is dotted with dishes from Burma, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore. They could well get the South-East Asian Cafe (the theme which they had in mind while designing the menu and the place) status, if they pay some attention to the quality and authenticity.
Ah yes, you can view the Side-walk from Side Wok.

Tea, Snack, Main Course and Dessert

It wasn’t planned. But it happened. And it did good. It rejuvenated two tired souls.
We indulged, feasted, shopped, tattled and were transmuted to two new beings.
Tea, we did not drink, but shopped for. We shopped at Needs, the superb supermarket situated in DLF Phase-IV, Gurgaon. Needs has the most amazing variety a supermarket can house. No wonder it has become my favourite. Below is the picture of the array of teas and biscuits,cookies,shorbreads, they have on offer. I was stupfied by the variety. I still am. I have never ever seen so much variety under one roof in Delhi!!!

Bangkok 9
This cute little eatery (read Thai and Oriental Cafe) is tucked away in a warm little corner of the food court at The Mega City Mall, Gurgaon. We ordered Po-Pia Thod or Thai Spring Rolls for starters. Wrapped in rice sheets and deep fried till golden brown, they are the yummiest crunchies once can have. If I visit Gurgaon and don’t eat the Phad Thai noodles (which we ordered for the Main Course) here I feel like the trip lacked something. This was the reason, that in the midst of the then ongoing Gujjar clashes, when I reached Gurgaon with a plan to have a Greek Pizza, I ended up having Phad Thai noodles at Bangkok 9. Phad Thai noodles, that’s my best bet at Bangkok 9. They are tangy, soft, juicy, crunchy and have My Peanut!!!
AND AND AND more than anything else, Pritika (the one who accompanies me here and everywhere) and Bangkok 9 are the ones behind my resurrected interest in the delicious Thai cuisine. Pritika is the one who told me that Thai food is not all about Coconut (which I truly, deeply hate). So this post would have been meaningless without a mention, a salutation to the duo.
Costa Coffee
And then came the Dessert, ‘Chocolate Travoletta’, a titillating delight that can be sampled at Costa Coffee cafes around the town and beyond. I am not too sure if I spelt the name of the sinful delight right. It costs about 28 INR and is inarguably the best chocolate dessert any cafe can attract me to.