Mediterranean cuisine in our city has always been easy for us to identify with. Globally inflected, lean but filling, and as driven by its ingredients as by the chef seasoning them. In this case chef-entrepreneur Manu Chandra, who has completely revamped the 10- year-old, familiar, shabby-chic, blue door, white walled Olive Beach along with the menu.
The signature blue entrance has shifted slightly. And the softly lit high-ceilinged space with its relocated bar is now thankfully devoid of pebbles and tricky water bodies. The good-looking gleam extends to the discreet dining areas dotted with sputtering white candles. Comfy banquettes carve out the lounge space and a charming private enclave screened off with sheers and flanked by a woodfired pizza oven. Perfect for cosy celebrations.
On the plate
The artisanal intent in Olive’s new menu is visible right away. Appetisers run the gamut from a shockingly good chicken liver pâté with herbs, cognac and grape gel casing, translucent carpaccio at it beefy best and crab cakes dense with flavour. Chandra’s decadent version of Brie en Croute, (brie wrapped in puff pastry) vies for attention with a yellow fin tuna served deliciously raw with just a toss of chilli oil and herbs.
It’s tough to decide on the mains which include old favourites and new inventions that “add local flavours in a playful fashion”, as Chandra puts it. We were intrigued by a coconut milk and prawn rissotto making a mental note to return for it later. Meat lovers will enjoy the divine trinity of slow- cooked trotter pie complete with cute pastry piggy face, tender glazed pork belly and homemade bacon sausage patty, a Rigatoni Carbonara Romana made with Goan sausage, fork tender slow-cooked lamb, or a choice of perfectly done salmon, duck and tenderloin. The homespun desserts—gourmet hot chocolate, snicker bars variations and warm brioche to name a few—are easy to scarf down without pondering too much. You can also find wines that are not merely decent but excellent, without breaking the bank served by the glass or bottle.
` 1,500 for two approximately. At Wood Street, Ashok Nagar
— Jackie Pinto