I’m invited for what I anticipate, will be a high strung socialite evening of some bar book winners with a celebrity chef…..however to my surprise, I’m escorted to a rustic screeching metal door….fit only to be what looked like a backdoor entry…..and oh yes it indeed is. Through the doorway, from the back alley, to the back of the kitchen….with smiling chefs and into a vibrant looking bar with a period setting!!
So while I’ve recovered from this clandestine entry, I’m accosted by someone no less than the coolest of the Chefs this side of the country – our very own Chef Saby complete with his highly infectious brand of smile who asks us to be served with some tea !! Tea ???
|Left: Frozen Orange and Water Melon Martinis. Right: Mulled Wine in a kullar|
So here we are at one the latest and most sought after bars of the city……
at the Olive @ Qutub
The 1920s, an opulent era of prohibition rooted in the US, when cocktails were served in tea cups; and where live bands, silent cinema and floor-shows marked entertainment. An era of molls and gangsters, of flappers and flamboyance; and where bars could be hidden away with a touch of a button in case of any raids. They were basically illegal bars because manufacturing or trade of alcohol was prohibited and the only way around was bootlegging. These bars usually had a secret back door entry through dirty alleys, tricky doors and basements. Access to which was screened or password controlled.
A speakeasy brings to mind a smoky bar with blues music, dancing to jazz, aromas of comfort food wafting out from the kitchen and a fun, relaxed celebratory atmosphere.
Our perfect-as-ever hosts…..Chef Saby and his team had created a delicious menu for this bloggers’ event with a list of some classy, sophisticated, yet dramatic cocktails.
Amongst them my favourites were the Mulled Wine, The South Side – their signature drink, and the Cherry wood smoked Gin-n-Tonic. Oh and how could I forget the Jasmine infused Martini…. reminded of my ‘after lunch’ green tea….only a little more exciting !! :-))
|Clockwise: Overlooking the bar, crowds at large, South Side – A signature cocktail. Oh I love these cups and saucers !!|
|Jasmine infused Martinis|
|Beer served in paper bags….no one should see !!!|
|The expert bartender at work !!|
Besides these intoxicating beauties, as usual the food was delicious with an intelligent mix of finger foods. My favourites being the Shrimp Jammers, Gangster Slider – tenderloin patty with grilled onions, Shebeen Sandwich. Not to forget the Starving Mafia – Slow cooked lamb goulash with country style bread. For someone like me who is extremely fussy with their meats specially lamb this was a hands down winner !! I specially loved the presentation of this dish with the goulash being served again in tea cups !!
|Left: Starving Mafia – Slow cooked lamb goulash with country side bread. Right: Gangster Slider – Tenderloin patty with grilled onions.|
To wrap up the evening there was a live dessert counter where a chef was creating The Smoking Cigar – Churros with Chocolate Sauce. Not just another chocolate sauce but a Dirty Martini special, with a mix of hot chocolate and bailey’s.
And last but not the least, Nutty Auntie – Baked apple and walnut tart with maple drizzle.
Chef Saby was kind enough share his signature cocktail – The South Sider’s recipe and also the Sheeban Sandwich.
The South Sider
The Shebeen Sandwich
Grill artichoke on other side and toss it finally with red harissa. Arrange it on the bread with apricot chutney.