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Chennai's own Olive

The menu at Olives, the restaurant at the Days Inn Deccan Plaza on Royapettah High Road, has a little bit of everything



Olives at night: Yes, this one is for vegetarians — Pic. by R. Ragu

AT LAST we have our own `Olives' here! Now we can turn up our noses at the Mumbai night owls who used to flaunt Olive Bar and Kitchen at our faces. As if we don't have nightlife! Our Olives too cater to nocturnal beings. But here ends the similarity with the hip watering hole at Bandra flocked by those who want to see and be seen.

The Chennai Olives (phone: 55713333) is at the Days Inn Deccan Plaza, the city's first four-star vegetarian hotel on Royapettah High Road. It is the only eatery at this impressive property. The smart, bright interior of the restaurant gives an impression of spaciousness and comfort.

Coffee shop format

The menu has a typical coffee shop format, a little bit of everything. The burgers and sandwiches are there, but surprisingly no pizzas. The Mediterranean touch is limited to au gratins and pastas and a salad with olive oil and this with the name Olives! It is the Indian section that gets more prominence, but here too there is imbalance. There are barely two local dishes. One of them, Kaalaan milagu (Rs.85), a peppery mushroom dish, is more of a pan Indian edition. To be fair, there was a South Indian buffet for the day with aloo mutter and jilebi rubbing shoulders with avial and semia payasam.

The most intriguing name of the lot was Deccan chopsuey (Rs.75) — how can there not be Chinese fare? As one had only seen the American and the Chinese versions, this one with soy, or at least the menu said so, aroused curiosity.

Though what came to the table was the same old tomato sauce laden American chopsuey under a new name, it was quite nice. Sheikh de aloo (potato with sweet and savoury stuffing topped with a slice of cheese), another coffee shop fixture priced at Rs.80, too was pleasant.

What went beyond the tepid zone was the Makkai palak curry (Rs.85). This one stood out from the rest. Usually nothing goes wrong with rotis. Yet at Olives, when we asked for Onion kulcha (Rs. 35) it came with the same semi-sweet stuffing as the potato! Only when the bill came did we know that it was Masala kulcha. Even then, since when did masala include tutti-frutti?

The desserts are the usual sundaes, ice creams and Gulab jamuns (Rs.40) and Gajjar ka halwa (Rs.50). Days Inn Deccan Plaza comes with a tag line, "Delivering value". Olives is just a month old and so we can hope that soon it will fulfil that promise.

MARIEN MATHEW

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