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Review I The Winter Menu @ Olive at The Qutub

I have a deep appreciation for chefs who develop menus according to the season. Because it means two things - 1. they respect seasonal produce 2. that they know change is the only way to go.

Ofcourse the food at Olive has stood the test of time, so there's little I can say that can do justice to it. Having said that ,Olive has perhaps always been a favourite for winter brunches for me.

This winter, Chef Sujan S. has designed a menu that is a combination of comforting flavours and new techniques that are at par with the current international trends. So yes, you have the gnocchis and the chocolate fondant but you also have the angus sirloin and the tuna tarte tartin.

Our expansive meal started with a choice of winter special cocktails where I opted for the Spiced Tea. It had a strong star anise flavour which is perhaps for me, the least favourite of all the spices. With its strong licorice flavour, it was a bit of an overkill to the delicate flavours of the tea.

Up first was the Oyster Rockafeller, which was baked with a mornay sauce and served with a bit of cilantro. As much as oysters are enjoyed fresh out of the sea, these were cooked just the right amount - you could taste the sea as well the bits of sauce. I also thought the seasoning was perfect.

The Tuna tarte tartin was perhaps my most favourite of the appetizers. It was served with a quail egg and bean salad which I loved. The pastry for the tart was light and crispy and the tuna was almost like a sashimi barely cured.

Two salads followed - the beetroot and artichoke and the citrus, fig and duck with seasonal greens. I really really liked both the salads, and spent a while guessing what all went into them so that I could replicate it at home.

Just when I thought we couldn't have any other spectacular appetisers - the baked camembert with sauteed mushroom was brought out. Now, as you know, I have a great love for all cheese, so without a doubt I ravaged the whole cast iron pan. This dish was simplicity in itself. But the combination of the melty cheese with the woody mushrooms worked spectacularly. This is the dish I'm going to go back for again and again.

With that, the entress began - the zuchinni gnocchi with pea puree and blue cheese emulsion, the chillean sea bass with caramelised brussel sprouts, braised pork belly with vanilla mash, lavender scented duck breast with potato fondant and ballotine of chicken with canadian bacon and onion puree.

I think my favourite of the lot of the chicken which was really tender and flavourful as well as the sirloin cheek that came with truffle jus which just melted in the mouth. I wish I could describe all the dishes, but these two were what really stood out for me and truthfully, by this time, I was really stuffed.

Which is why I barely had space for dessert - the chocolate fondant was all melty in the center but I wish it had a bit of salt that could have elevated it completely while the vanilla poached pear was really the star of the evening - simple, elegant and divine.

Olive has always been a great place to dine under the stars, and the winter menu this time round is both comforting and warm - making it a fun place for an evening out.

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