A memorable evening spent at the Dirty Martini (The Olive Kitchen & bar, Mehrauli), Delhi


In a nutshell:

A retro lavish concept Bar with daily live performance, loads of surprises, great ambience, YUMM food & some YUMM cocktails (yes, cocktails r real tasty here).

The full story:

As all of u know by now, all restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ are visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has pays for the full Bill & tips also. YUMMRAJ also believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.

Drinks on the bar @ The Dirty Martini
Drinks on the bar @ The Dirty Martini

This post is an exception – YUMMRAJ was invited to a ‘party’ by a special person whom he enjoys ‘adda’ with – a celebrity Chef – The Director of Kitchens at the Olive Group. The event was a bloggers meet at their newly opened Bar – The Dirty Martini.

The inspiration of the Bar is from the numerous speakeasy bars that used to thrive in the US in 1920s. For the uninitiated, ‘speakeasy’ was referred to an establishment that used to illegally sell alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the period known as Prohibition (1920–1933, longer in some states). During this time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States.

The bar area @ The Dirty Martini
The bar area @ The Dirty Martini

These bars were called ‘Speakeasy’ because of the practice of speaking quietly about such a place in public, or when inside it, so as not to alert the police or neighbors.

To avoid problems in case of sudden raids, these bars used to have backdoor entrances (at times), alcohol used to be served in tea cups , they had tricky doors and basements, access to which was screened or through passwords and the bar could be hidden at the touch of a button.

Amuse Bouche atop smoking drink @ The Dirty Martini
Amuse Bouche atop smoking drink @ The Dirty Martini

When Olive thought of launching a speakeasy inspired bar in Delhi, it was a challenge coz speakeasies were not upmarket establishments in general. So, to be true to the image of Olive, they had to fuse the concept of speakeasy to the European context. The dirty Martini is India’s first “speakeasy inspired” bar and not a “speakeasy”. So everything that u see here is opulent & as if u r sitting in a place, straight out of a period movie.

The Lady doing a Live performance @ The Dirty Martini
The Lady doing a Live performance @ The Dirty Martini

One side of the Seating Room at ‘The Dirty Martini’ obviously had a large & beautiful bar area & the opposite side had a Piano. A Russian (I was told) lady dressed in European costume of that ‘period’ was playing the Piano & singing some outstanding songs.

The seating area was opulent as well – Beautifully carved Wood & cushion sofas & wooden tables with awesome lightbulb shades. The wall area had different treatments – some chequered black & white boxes, some other had leather upholstry finish & then there were huge mirror panels. Overall, it created the right impact.

The beautiful seating @ The Dirty Martini
The beautiful seating in foreground & live music performance in the background @ The Dirty Martini

But before I describe the place more, let me tell u the story.As we alighted from our car, we were greeted with a welcome drink – Mulled Wine served in a Kulhar. Later we came to know that it was the Chef’s special offering , “The chai wala” – Mulled wine in his imagination of Indian prohibition!!!! Needless to say that the mulled wine was very enjoyable as it was at the Olive Beach last Christmas.

Mulled wine served in Kulhar @ The Dirty Martini
Mulled wine served in Kulhar @ The Dirty Martini

With the Kulhar in our hand, we were guided into the bar thru the backdoor via the kitchen. I understood much later that this was also a part of the experience.

Once in, we were pleasantly surprised to see a room full of food bloggers. The next few hours were spent with some superb conversations with some of them.

Within a short while came a drink called South side served in an immensely beautiful floral designed tea cup. It had Gin, lime sugar and mint. Loved it & also the experience of experiencing a cocktail from a cup!!!!!

South Side served in a beautiful cup @ The Dirty Martini
South Side served in a beautiful cup @ The Dirty Martini

What was served next was even more astonishing. I noticed it when it was served to a fellow blogger – Thick smoke was coming out of the glass in his hand. When I got mine, I saw that the glass was covered with kind of a visiting card & an amuse bouche atop that. The drink turned out to be a cherry wood smoked gin-tonic cocktail, with real smoke. Even when the smoke was gone, the smoky flavour remained till the last sip. Must say this was a surprise – a stunning one.

Dense Smoke inside a glass @ The Dirty Martini
Dense Smoke inside a glass @ The Dirty Martini

There were few more cocktails doing the rounds & to my pleasant surprise all of them were way above ordinary.

Surprise didn’t end there. Next in line was Blood orange martini jello shots & The “Wine bricks” Watermelon martini. Real watermelon pulp was scooped out & replaced with a red gel made from watermelon juice & martini. Potent & good, though a bit more jellied than optimum.

IMG_3404
Fruit jello shots – alcohol disguised as fruit

For food there were what they termed “Eat easy “bites. Among the veggie dishes were Big boss toast (Goat’s cheese, chilli jam, berries), Dive bar croistini (Ratatouille, gruyere), Rum runner (Mushroom burger, manchego) & Sheeben sandwich (Harissa artichoke, feta pate, apricot chutney).

In the non vegetarian section, there was TDM chicken (Batter fried, Cajun dust), Shrimp jammer (Golden fried shrimps with chipotle mayo), Blind pig belly with Maple chilli glaze, Gangster slider Tenderloin patty with grilled onion, Godfather’s stew, Casablanca “the white house” – a Seven vegetable stew with country style bread & ‘Starving Mafia’ – Slow cooked lamb goulash with country style bread.

Pig Belly has been a forte of Chef Saby from the days of ai, divine I wud say – That was years before I met him. Gangster slider was awesome – soft, juicy & freshly baked. Loved the vegetarian dish ‘White House’ amidst so many YUMM nonvegetarian options.

Next section was Seafood flamboyance. It had ‘The blind tiger’ – Chipotle rubbed Jumbo tiger prawns, Squeaky Squid in Dirty pepper sauce & ‘Fishy Flapper’ – Cajun spiked basa.

For desserts, was “Nutty auntie” – an awesome Baked apple and walnut tart, drizzled with maple. Layery, crispy & rightly sweet. In a live counter, Chef was making fresh Live churros named “The smoking cigar” , dunked in Hot molten chocolate. Good but I still liked the one at The Olive Beach better.

An experience worth remembering. Recommend to all u guys for the sheer experience, if not for the good food & drinks.
Look forward to re-visiting The Dirty Martini in anonymity on some other evening some other time, re-enjoy the experience, pay for it & then do a proper YUMMRAJ style review with ratings out of 5.

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