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The kitchen staff at Powai's Red Olives needs a crash course in the art of retaining flavour in their dishes. Well-done starters and sides can't play saviour

We'd like to believe Google's search engine on this one. There was no reference to a certain variety of the olive called Red Olive.
 
Yet, we didn't allow this to mar our culinary quest for new territory before stepping into Red Olives at Powai, on a drippy Sunday afternoon.

Inside, a mix of black and copper-bronze shades made up for the colour palette though we couldn't quite put a finger on the theme.

The interiors though dressed in regalia, were confusing and didn't stick to a set theme; The Kabab-e-Lazeez was the saving grace at Red Olives and the Aloo Pudina Raita was a thick, delicious side order



A meditative Buddha, abstract metallic art work and tassel partitions made for a difficult summation of Red Olive's interiors, as we settled at a corner table.

The instrumental playlist was stuck in an '80s loop tunes by Phil Collins, Celine Dion and their ilk at high volume drowned the slightest whiff of an audible, relaxed luncheon. The high-decibel levels emanating from most of the adjoining tables added to the jamboree.

The exhaustive menu panned Indian, Chinese and Konkan cuisines. The rain-soaked afternoon meant we plumbed for the piping hot Tamatar Pudina Shorba (Rs 155), which arrived in good time. We plunged into our bowls to soak in the wonderfully natural flavours of the tomatoes.

Except, there was none. It tasted like something you'd whip up from a ready-to-heat pack as last resort when uninvited guests show up. Thankfully, the starter Kabab-e-Lazeez (Rs 275), which was a chicken platter of succulently spiced and skewered kebabs, redeemed our faith in more ways than one.

For the entrees, we stuck to the Indian section Awadhi Kofta (Rs 245) and Aloo Pudina Raita (Rs 150) with Basmati Rice (Rs 175).

Our seafood leanings meant we couldn't resist a westward detour, with a shot at the Konkan menu the Mangalorean-style Prawns Sukka (Rs 545) (can somebody please inform the owners that Mangalore and the rest of India's west coast cannot be clubbed as the Konkan?).

The koftas lacked flavour. Surely, the shorba aberration wasn't a one-time occurrence. The raita in sharp contrast was delicious creamy, with the right zing of pudina and other spices.

It lifted our spirits after the Awadhi misadventure. Our attendant forewarned us that the prawn preparation would require time. We agreed. After all, the piece-de-resistances shouldn't be rushed in the kitchen.

When it arrived, we couldn't wait to tuck into the crustaceans. Except the f-word hit our palates again. Jumbo-sized prawns wearing a delicately, light brown colour, and served in an impressive dressing, lacked flavour and texture.

The less-than-tantalising final encounter, didn't merit us to attempt dessert. Fine dining experiences go beyond presentation, ambience and delicious side orders.

AT Ventura Building, Hiranandani Business Park, opposite Domino's Pizza, Central Avenue, Powa.
CALL 42012759 / 42012760
Red Olives didn't know we were there.
The GUIDE reviews anonymously and pays for meals.

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