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Delhi Wine Club
Olive: Wine Bar on the Beach

Posted: Monday, 25 October 2010 12:25

Olive: Wine Bar on the Beach

Never to rest his over- fertile brain, AD Singh has been working quietly since the re-opening of Olive Mehrauli, in partnership with Ramola Bachchan on a plan to convert part of the Olive Beach Restaurant in Delhi to a Wine Bar which opens on November 20th  in the presence of the Burgundy vintner Michel Laroche, reports Subhash Arora

Photos By:: Adil Arora

‘Many of our women clients who like to go out for fun and like to have a glass or two of wine in a relaxed atmosphere had been asking me for a long time to have something like a wine bar where they can chill out,’ says AD Singh when I asked him how he got the idea of converting a part of the restaurant into a wine bar to be launched next month in partnership with the socialite entrepreneur, Ramola Bachchan.

‘The outside area at the Olive Beach is always very much in demand, especially in winter- so we decided to change half of the inside section exclusively for the wine bar space, with visible wine racks, special glasses and a good variety of wines,’ says AD, stressing that aggressive pricing has been his mandate to attract more people to the wine bar in order to encourage people to drink more wine. ‘As it is, we have been doing quite well with wine sales which account for half the alcohol sales because of the type of cuisine we offer and the profile of our clientele,’ he says.

What he did not tell me was that with the re-opening of Olive at the Qutab Mehrauli, a lot of action and excitement has shifted to that venue which has been rocking since its re-opening. This means that AD had to come up with some new and innovative ideas to keep the Beach buzzing.

‘We want to give a complete wine experience to those coming to the wine bar’, says AD, adding , ‘Therefore, we are hiring a French Sommelier who can engage the clients and be interactive with the customers, giving out the wine information at the same time.’

So how did he manage to get Ramola Bachchan to be involved in the project? ‘I had partnered at Manré Restaurant for 3 years,’ says Ramola Bachchan who is originally from Kolkata and is married to Amitabh Bachchan’s brother Ajitabh, a successful industrialist, mirroring his view. ‘I sold my stake a few months earlier and was at loose ends when AD approached me and asked me if I would like to partner him in the wine bar project at the Olive Beach Restaurant. A couple of meetings and here I am- working full time at break neck speed to meet the deadline,’ says the charming entrepreneur.

‘As a precursor to the launching of wine bar officially when Michel Laroche, the famous wine producer from Burgundy will be amongst us, we will have a Beaujolais evening on the 18th,’ she informs. ‘This paid event would include the Beaujolais Nouveau 2010 from an existing importer, snacks, music etc. and promises to be a lot of fun,’ she added.

Beaujolais Nouveau, as a majority of our readers would recall, is released every year on the third Thursday of November, throughout the world. Although this Gamay-based French wine from Beaujolais, south of Burgundy, is certainly not a great quality wine but it does not claim to be as such either (although Cru Beaujolais is one of the best value-for-money French wines especially as it pairs with spicy Indian food rather well) . Many countries, especially Japan still carry on the tradition of celebrating the day with gusto.

A couple of decades ago, it used to be the pencilled date on the Delhi social fun calendar with the French embassy and Air France joining hands and organising the evening on the lawns of the then Hotel Maurya Sheraton. But several years ago, the practice was discontinued. Some other hotels including the Imperial keep on making sporadic efforts to carry on the tradition but have not been able to sustain the interest so far. For instance Tarsillo Nataloni, the Italian owner of Flavors Restaurant has already announced his plans to organise one this year. Olive Bar on the Beach however, not only plans to revive the tradition but hopes to make it an annual paid event.

At the proposed Wine Bar, there will be the usual wines- by- the glass on the Menu; wines will be kept fresh using the Enomatic machine. Initially eight wines will be offered, although the number ought to be a minimum of 16 for a wine bar of this caliber (Shangri-la already has 32-the Enomatic machine being imported by Brindco has modules of 8 wines each). Champagne and Prosecco would be a part of the portfolio, though. ‘There will be wine flights of 4-6 on the tables though we are considering serving on the bar counter too, in order to make it interactive with the sommelier,’ says Ms Bachchan. ‘We also hope to have flight specials like wines from a specific country only, or the regular exclusive vertical tastings.’

Although both AD and Ramola were reluctant to share the price of the wines by the glass, which would naturally depend on the quality as well, they would like to see a price of under Rs. 400 or possibly Rs.350 for a quaffable wine. ‘With the accent on a limited tapas menu of 8-10 items and reasonably priced wines and  with the informal and chic ambience of the Olive Beach, we want to give a unique experience to our customers, especially the women, to come and relax whenever they want.’

Come 18th November and one can expect a different ambience inside the Olive Beach. However, with the full liquor license in hand, hard drinks will still be available and beer will be on tap in the restaurant, if you want it with your pizza or pasta. In the mood for mojitos, daiquiris, vodka or any other preferred poisons? You would be welcome to order them for your parched throats at the restaurant which will carry on with various promotions like now. For instance, the current promotion on Swedish food, called the ‘Nobel Memorial Week Food Festival’ runs from 25-31 October. Click HERE for details. For more details about the Olive Bar on the Beach, write to Anirban Sarkar at

Subhash Arora


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