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And now in Delhi too

After Mumbai's success, The Olive Bar & Kitchen opens an outlet in New Delhi. SUMITRA SENAPATY savours its enticing Mediterranean fare.


THE OLIVE Bar & Kitchen, under the arguably dubious belief that stick-thin models and food is a match made in marketing heaven, recently opened its Delhi chapter after celebrating its third anniversary of culinary operations in Mumbai. Sprawled between two Mehrauli havelis next to the

spectacular Qutab Minar, Olive exudes elegance and provides fine Mediterranean fare along with a huge helping of socialites and celebrities.

So, you might very well spot hip designers and models, as well as other creative and trendy types at Olive, which has all the makings of a fashionable bistro where guests do need to think ahead and make reservations, be it lunch or dinner. It's the place where inventive chefs cook in an impromptu and earthy vein, drawing on the healthy, low-tech traditions of the cuisines of Mediterranean regions such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Lebanon, while improvising and experimenting with the freshest of Delhi's seasonal ingredients.

Sunny Mediterranean flavours emphasise the use of extra virgin olive oil, which appeal to those who are concerned about cholesterol levels. The cuisine also uses a lot of seafood and vegetables, and is positioned as fun and casual, in keeping with today's carefree moods and style. As guests loiter over their champagne, margaritas, muddled cocktails and white wine, Olive's Mediterranean repertoire makes an appearance with some inspired vegetable recipes, from a vivid salad of fresh winter greens to elegant Potato Gnocchi in Walnut Cream Sauce with Gorgonzola to straightforward side dishes of Hummus and Caesar's Salad with freshly baked breads. The Spring Onion Ravioli and Espetada, chicken or prawn in a fiery Portuguese marinade is amongst Olive's signature dishes and the Pizza Di Metro Grande is the bistro's version of a meter long pizza with a choice of toppings. Olive serves forth some tasty and sinful, yet uncomplicated sweets, including Tiramisu and a hot Chocolate Soufflé with the freshest of fruits under the sun.

What is strikingly special is Olive's simplistic yet stunning décor - the white pebbled courtyard, the Bargad tree, the greenhouse and glass walls overlooking the Qutab and green country, a gracious blend of ethnic and Mediterranean chic. `Sunday in the Countryside' is Olive's attempt to bring in some fresh ideas for urbanites trying to escape from city lights - A wine picnic where you can soak in the winter sun, laze, catch a snooze and take in liberal amounts of music, wine and great food. In addition to spotting a glitterati or two, you're guaranteed to enjoy the setting overlooking wide-open spaces, lovely sunshine and Mediterranean warmth, besides the food does make the trip out to Mehrauli well worth your while.

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