Olive Bistro gets a new autumn avatar
Olive Bistro has consistently raised the bar, when it comes to some superb Mediterranean food. The autumn menu, recently flagged off by the young and bright chef de cuisine Rishim Sachdeva, not only shot the bar up once again with its innovative culinary offerings, but marked a distinct shift from the bistro format of sandwiches, burgers and pizzas to a more fine dining format of classic dishes, tweaked to give them a contemporary, global edge.
As usual, generous hosts Shaaz Mehmood and Shiraz Mirza decided to ply almost all the new menu choices at the bloggers preview table to which Eatopian Chronicles was invited. Take a look at some of the appetisers sampled:
We started off with some BBQ cauliflower and leek flatbread, and truth be told, I took a very tentative helping, thinking why cauliflower? Rest assured, my apprehensions went out of the window with one bite and in fact I think I asked for seconds, and so did most others at the bloggers menu preview table. The humble ‘gobhi’, marinated in a light yoghurt-seasoning had just the coal-smoked flavour, crisped just right and delectable, with a slight sweet aftertaste. The soft and fresh leek flatbread made the perfect accompaniment and we happily chomped away. The other vegetarian starter to be served was funky hummus and smoked falafel which was competently done, nothing out of the ordinary!
Pork Ribs with Carrots, Keffir and Saute Green Beans grabbed our attention next and absolutely deserved the Olive classic tag. Tender pork, slow-braised and with that lovely smoked flavour, in a delectable barbecue sauce, served with carrots and saute green beans The Red Velvet Fried Chicken (chicken, marinated in buttermilk crisp outside and tender inside, was just perfect) served with quinoa tossed in Lebanese spices, besides being a palate grabber would make for a healthy protien-packed Mediterranean meal option. The Kefir Lime seasoned fishcakes with saffron aioli and pickled fennel salad had a Thai touch, while remaining a global dish.
Moving on to main courses, will stick talking about those ones which appealed to me the most. Allow me to post the delectable visuals first!
Let me begin with what impressed me the most: the slow braised lamb, inspired by Moroccan style of slow cooking (72 hours), served with seasonal pea and potato mash, earthy beetroot puree and crunchy vegetables. This dish was no less than a work of art, the lamb tender to the bite, the slightly sweet-astingent beetroot puree providing the right foil of lightness and the potato mash, always a winner with meat.
While I generally dont take a shine to polenta, the roast garlic polenta served at Olive was several notches above the usual flat taste of this Med staple, making this a hit with me. Here, chef Rishim had grilled the polenta crisp and served it with a vegetable ratatouille and seared cucumber and the vegetables in a funky tomato salsa topping.
The maple and chipotle grilled salsa chicken was prepared through an elaborate technique: Half roast chicken was marinated with maple and chipotle and then grilled, was served with pok choy sauteed in sour cream and finished
Desserts time and there was no space but I absolutely had to try a spoonful of yet another Olive classic, tiramisu! Served with kahlua sponge, creamy mascarpone cheese and home made lady fingers, this had everyone hooked. But it was the Salted Caramel Tart which truly deserved the sighs of appreciation, the right saltiness of the creamy caramel with a tart filled with dark chocolate, I mean, do I need to say more?