The legend of Olive ... Olive Bar Bandra

It is strange for a Bandra food blogger to not have anything on Olive Bar after two years of blogging.

A D Singh's Olive Bar is the mother of all page three haunts. It has successfully spread across the country now. I had been there eons back when we could hardly afford it. I never went to Olive after that. Its neighbour, Out of The Blue , was a big favourite of mine. And remains so.

I suddenly thought of Olive the night we got Princess Leia, our new new car, home. We wanted to go to a place which would match up with the special occasion.
Elegant hues

Olive didn't disappoint us on that count. The place was buzzing on a Tuesday night. There were two large groups including what seemed like a corporate do. The place was full and we had to sit at the bar. Olive was alive. Yet we were some of the youngest folks around! It seemed like an old boys club where most knew each other. The rest were office groups attacking their plates with serious grit and determination.

The music was what is called House Music I think. What I really liked was that we could comfortably speak despite being close to the speakers. They obviously didn't believe in drowning you with decibels at Olive. A rare delight in the world of lounges.

The ambience was nice, light and Mediterranean... white walls, touches of blue, candle lights and lamps. An outdoor section which looked appealing in the cool night and a cosy looking inner section bathed in soft, yellow light.

They made my favoured cocktail of Long Island Ice tea pretty well. The bar was well stocked. The bar man quick and efficient. I decided to follow my 460 Rs ( USD) drink with a cheaper vanilla Smirnoff (Rs 160/ 3 USD for a small measure) for economic reasons.

The food service sucked.

We were shunted from bar guys in black shirts, to stewards in striped shirts to waiters in floral shirts when I wanted to know more about items on the menu. No one could answer my questions which were very basic.

'Salumi Frommage Platter?' Replied with a Mithunda like 'pork hain' (got pork). Mezze Platter? 'Seafood hain' (has sea food).

There was a consistent pattern that followed each of my questions on the menu. The person would go and get someone else who would go and get someone else who would go and get someone else and who would .... The fifth or sixth person would then give the 'Me Tarzan. You Jane' words of wisdom which I just recounted.

See the pictures below and tell me if you can spot the difference between our two starters.

I admit that the cold cuts were divine. Salami, pepperoni, ham, pastrami ... each tasted different and memorable. But two plates of the same? That's not what I had in mind.
The Salumi Frommage platter had six small cubes of excellent cheese, along with the cold cuts. The Mezze platter had a couple of pickled squids and octopus and a repeat of the cold cuts. Not the usual dips or starters and bread which Mezze platters stand for. With no one to advice us on this harsh reality.
I hold the waiters and their ineptitude responsible for this historic blunder. When I am paying upwards of six hundred Rupees (12 USD) a plate then I want someone who knows his job taking my order. Not a wannabe Mithunda.
We had requested to be moved to the outside section after it became empty. No one bothered. I just checked my bill while writing the post and saw that they had charged a service charge. Please let me know if you have A D Singh's number. That's a part of my bill which I want to be reimbursed for. Or I can contribute it to a fund where he can send his staff to the local Shiv Sagar Udipi for lessons on 'service'.
Alls well that ends well
We had a chocolate fondant (Rs 320 / 7 USD) for dessert. Nectar like chocolate sauce oozed out of it when we dug our spoon in. A treat befitting the happy occasion. Princess Leia would have approved. Though I think she is too trim and sleek to be acquainted with chocolate.
The fondant came with what claimed to be a scoop of vanilla ice cream but was actually a tasteless white sorbet.

Bitter sweet memories
In the final analysis Olive is a good place to go to if you want to feel nice and are OK with a bill of Rs 3000 to 5000 (60 to 100 USD).
It is not the place to go if you want a good dining experience AND expect to be pampered OR need to be guided. Given the Neanderthal service quality only a regular at the restaurant, or a food expert, could hope know what to order.
Given the quality of staff they should hire a good writer to make the menu self explanatory. I am sure they could afford it given the horribly overpriced fare.

Olive served out purpose that evening. We felt special. Life seemed beautiful. My compliments to the interior decorator.

I don't see myself going back in a hurry.

Post Script: Mithunda (Mithun Chakraborty) is a Bengali who made it big in the Bollywood kitsch world of the eighties and nineties. He played to the galleries. A man of the masses. Known for his Robin Hood roles, action sequences and disco steps. The characters he would play would typically be that of the neighbourhood goon with a big heart. He would speak in street lingo and slang with a ruffianish accent. A cult figure but not known for finesse.
Not the sort of guy who should be taking orders in a Fine Dining restaurant.