It’s not often your dinner is plated up so beautifully that you’d rather stare instead of tasting
It’s not often your dinner is plated up so beautifully that you’d rather stare instead of tastingthe flavours. For someone who is always hungry, it is a rare phenomenon. But as plate after plate of gorgeous, yet intricately detailed, dishes were put in front of me, I sighed. They were just too pretty to eat!
It was a cold evening when I found myself at Olive Qutub. Seated outdoors with the heaters keeping me warm and live music as accompaniment, it was a great setting to taste the new Winter Menu. Conceptualised by head chef Dhruv Oberoi, the journey promised diversity and it didn’t disappoint.
After two amuse-bouches – fake olives and parmesan chips, both revving up the palate – it was time for the first appetiser. As the big white plate was placed in front, a smile spread across my face. Burrata is a favourite. The soft texture is so delicate and when paired with heirloom tomatoes and pickled strawberries, black balsamic caviar and tomato dust; the explosion of flavours in my mouth was extremely satisfying.
Then came the Mushroom Duxelles. With white asparagus and a mélange of mushrooms, served with truffle oil emulsion and fresh nasturtium, the plate was pretty as a picture. The freshness of the nasturtium paired well but personally, it wasn’t as exciting as the Burrata Tatin.
As the evening continued and the conversation with chef continued, I tried to understand the concept. Firstly, the winter menu is very well researched. The use of unusual leaves such as jute, Ceylon spinach, nasturtium and Moringa along with fresh locally sourced ingredients from the different areas of the country makes the plates very exciting. The whole concept revolves around a walk through a jungle. The imagination behind each plate, use of European techniques and fresh produce, and unusual flavour combinations; leave the consumer wanting more. No wonder the winter menu, which began in the first week of December and will continue till mid-March, has been so well received by patrons.
The pastrami and oxtail came next. The mélange of radishes and mustard caviar suited the spice-crusted tenderloin and crispy oxtail. It was one of the most well-balanced dishes I’ve tasted. The Hokkaido scallops with sherry-glazed ham hock, cauliflower puree, pork crackling and a trio of fennel was definitely a highlight among the appetizers. The lime butter used to braise the scallops hit all the right notes.
If you enjoy pasta, do try the hand-rolled tortelli which is stuffed with goat cheese. It’s served on a bed of sautéed kale with brûléed figs and jam, and orange bits. As you cut into the tortelli, drizzled with parmesan sauce, the anticipation grew. Who knew pasta would taste so wonderful with figs? It was a revelation.
The pork belly entrée was a personal favourite. The braised belly paired beautifully with the tanginess of the apple piccalilli and pickled apples. The pumpkin puree served alongside brought it all together as the plate was licked (figuratively) clean!
I’m not a dessert person but the Perfect Mess, paying homage to the English Eton Mess, was a delight. The soft meringue coupled with the vanilla blancmange and strawberries reminded me of those fictional British boarding school stories we’ve grown up reading where the Eton Mess was often a dessert staple. The Tiramisu 8.0, which has been a hit, is interesting. The classic Italian dessert has undergone a makeover where it’s in the shape of an ashtray and served with a coffee ice cream cannoli, shaped like a cigar!
Where: One Style Mile, Haveli 6, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi
Meal for two: Rs 4000+
Timings: 12:30 pm to 12:30 am
Contact: +91 9810235472/011 29574444