Olive Bar & Kitchen
November 2, 2009
This summer I finally visited Olive’s property at the racecourse. I had been to their Bandra branch long ago but this was my first visit to the race course branch. A lot of people talk about how Olive is one of the best restaurants in Mumbai and some even rate it as good as Indigo. Rahul Akerkar’s Tote on the Turf is now open in the same area that is being developed to house a number of restaurants.
Olive is located on one end of the race course parking lot and if you aren’t familiar with the restaurant, the lack of signs might just make it quite difficult to get there. The driveway however is pretty impressive and due to the fact that the entrance is not on a road, you get enough time to get out of your car.I made sure to make a reservation as I knew that it got pretty busy on the weekends. I got there on time but was made to wait for a good 30 minutes before being given a table. The hostess guided us to the bar area which was really crowded and there wasn’t enough bar stools or counter area for us to hang out. Another thing I didn’t appreciate was how the bar was not properly seperated from the rest of the restaurant which made it really awkward to wait for your table. Also waiting at the bar in a way forces you to buy a drink or two. A better idea would be if the restaurant had a separate waiting area or enough space where you don’t feel like you’re making someone else stand and wait even more awkwardly than you. Another thing that bothered me was the loud house music playing in restaurant. I guess it’s OK for the bar area but the bar and the outdoor seating area were the same and the music was a bit too much while eating. As you can tell I was already a bit pissed off with the wait. I would understand being made to wait if I didn’t have a reservation but being made to wait after a booking is a bit ridiculous. After we were finally seated and handed the menu, I tried asking one of the waiters for a recommendation. The waiter tried to help me out but the loud music made it a little difficult for me to hear him. Also I could tell that he was a bit stressed and couldn’t talk comfortably. I was there on a Saturday which I imagine is one of the busiest nights of the week and so I’m willing to accept a bit of a slip in service but it was my first time at Olive and I really needed some help. They had a wood fired oven and so I decided to order a pizza as I imagined it would be something they made well. Although I was sitting in the outer dining area I did manage to have a look at the inside section as well and wasn’t too impressed to be perfectly honest. The outside section is a lot better and had been enclosed and airconditioned. One thing I really liked about the inside is the view of the stables. You can look at the horses in the stable next door which I thought was kind of a cool thing to watch when you’re eating. I hate to be so anal about this, but the window had blue tint over it which would have been fine in the day, but makes the horses look really blue at night when the tubelights are on in the stable. The food took some time to get there which again I was willing to forgive considering how busy it was. However the three orders got to the table at different times. My pizza got there first and by the time the other two orders were completed, I had finished my pizza. The pizza was OK and even if it would have been great I probably wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it because of the atmosphere. When the time came to order desert, we decided to head to Indigo Deli instead so I can’t really comment on their deserts.
On the upside however Olive did seem like a nice place to go to if food isn’t a priority. I somehow got the feeling that it was more of a place to spot people and be spotted, something that a lot of the people there seemed pretty comfortable with. I guess if that’s the kind of person you are, you’re going to really enjoy Olive. Olive describes itself as a rustic hideaway where good food, laughter, culture and conversation come together in a Mediterranean melting pot. A place where beautiful people meet to enjoy life’s simple journey. Although I’m not too sure about the simple part, the last line really summarizes Olive for me – more of a place to meet if you are a beautiful person than a place to enjoy a good meal.
EDIT – My mother and aunt who had been here earlier liked the place a lot more than we did and so maybe we were just there on a bad night.