For the past year, Delhi restaurants have valiantly tried to fill the shoes of sealed Olive, hoping to achieve that balance of hip ambience and tasty food. No one has quite managed to make it.
Thankfully, A.D. Singh quietly downsized and modified his South Beach-meets-Capri style for a quiet spot in Chanakyapuri at the Hotel Diplomat. In the hope that the original Olive will reopen, this smaller spot will follow the footsteps of the Olive Beach in Bangalore: a lounge space with big couches; experimental drinks with tropical fruit juices and coconut cream; and a beach-inspired decor, right down to the seashell napkin rings.
It’s as if an old friend’s moved back in town—a bit changed, but great to meet again.
The small seating area outside pales in comparison to the large outdoor space of the old Olive, but once the nostalgia passes, one can’t help admire the understated glamour of the new space. Distressed furniture, in turquoises and greys, add a touch of bohemian funk to the modern white lines of the tables, couches and bar chairs.
It’s advisable to linger on, since the best dessert on the menu, a warm chocolate lava cake surrounded with cinnamon laced cream and a pile of three syrupy Bing cherries, takes 20 minutes to cook.
The appetizers in the work-in-progress menu were a bit disappointing, but the entrees more than made up for it—huge king scallops topped crisp potatoes and shredded carrot. They were perfectly cooked and delicious. The Quattro Modi di Anatra, or duck in four preparations, was a great way to sample different styles of cooking. We also loved the rack of lamb with a cashew and pistachio crust and a hint of cinnamon on the side.
The staff, while a bit too attentive, did know what they were talking about and made informed suggestions.
They’re trying hard to experiment with new flavours and combinations, so a few misses are to expected. The vegetable terrain did not have enough seasoning, and tasted more like grilled vegetables. On the other hand, the passatelli with sausage had too much seasoning, by way of salt.
It was a large meal for two, with four courses and a bottle of wine, on which we spent Rs6,453. Of course, the prices are on par with most restaurants of its category, with appetizers at around Rs430, pastas and pizzas at Rs600 and entrees at around Rs800.
At the Hotel Diplomat, 9, Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. For reservations call +91 99 7114 4455