Olio is Novotel’s Italian restaurant which specialises in everything Italian. I had previously been invited to the square for its lavish Sunday brunch which consisted over a zillion dishes. This time thanks to a fellow connoisseur Sanjay P I was invited for the newly launched Saturday brunch of Olio. We already know heaps about Novotel and its legendary chains Sampan & the Square. It was time for me to explore Olio this time.
Ethos of Olio
The core concept behind the newly launched Olio brunch as explained by Ruben their F and B manager is to get the same experience that you would get in the square but on a day like Saturday so that you can have time for yourself on Sunday. They also wanted people to get something new in brunch instead of the usual Indian food. So this was an all Italian brunch with a touch of Mediterranean and European. Well I welcomed that aspect. Some of the things that stands out would be the fact that you will be getting many of your meals directly from live counters which is a better option as compared to dishes that have been prepared and kept on hot plates as they definitely impact the quality of the meal in the long run
Mammoth Menu Ahead…
After having a brief discussion about the menu and a walk around the spread by their Italian Chef Sujeet we knew what was coming ahead for us. I had my Fork, Knife and Spoon ready as a Light Saber with the dark Side running strong in me to cut whatever is brought in front of me. There has been an awakening and that was my hunger to have quality Italian meals. The spread was segregated into specific sections and that was Salads & Cold cuts, Grills, Pasta’s, Risottos, Pizzas, and Mains in Hot Pots & Desserts. The spread within each section was elaborate and you had a lot of choices to choose from.
Salads & Cold Cuts
The first section I attacked on was the salads section and there was no stopping the force in this one. This section housed a number of dishes like Hummus with Pitas, Babaganoush, Fattoush, Assorted Salads, Different types of Cheese, assorted types of Meat & A Live salad counter where you can get the chefs to create that special salad that suits your palate. You can choose from a number of veggies, Meat (Chicken & Bacon) and dressing to suit your salad.
We tried out the Caesar Chicken Salad and Chicken in Honey mustard Sauce. The Caesar Chicken was definitely one of the best salads you can try out here. With the right amount of meat mixed with fresh iceberg lettuce, mayo and parmesan this was crunchy, healthy and tasty. The entire gang liked this salad hands down.
I also tried a Chicken Salad in Honey Mustard Sauce. Though this salad was made well it wasn’t as good as the chicken Caesar. One of the prime reason was the honey mustard sauce not balancing well with the meat and greens. This could definitely have been better.
In Soups we were offered with 2 soups namely the chicken asparagus soup and the Veg Chickpea soup. The CHICKEN ASPARAGUS was a green coloured creamy soup. It was “Green in envy” due to asparagus mixed with bits of chicken cubes. Good stuff especially due to its health quotient. This can be ordered in vegetarian as well if needed. You can add pepper in it to adjust the spice levels
The CHICKPEA soup was made of chickpeas boiled and grinded into a paste and then mixed with cream, spices and water to get that soupy texture. I didn’t have the soup so can’t comment much on it. The feedback from the table was that it was a good option for veggies
Elaborate Grills Section
The grills section was the main match winning element of the brunch. This section was to the brunch as Captain Cool is for Team India. Leading from the front. It consisted of different types of meats and exotic vegetables that could be mixed and matched with the different types of marinades and sauces that were available.
The Non veg options consisted of Lamb, whole mackerel, basa fish fillets, prawns and chicken while the veg options were Healthy Greens.
The marinades were Jamaican Jerk, Yours truly BBQ, Ohh Soo Spicy Peri Peri & Cajun. The sauces available were Black pepper, Hollandaise, Lemon butter & Rosemary.
The meats are grilled in your choice of marinade and sauce. There are a lot of combinations that can be created from this section itself. The Dark Side Rises…. This was the thought in my mind and I started munching down this lane with different types of meats. They were all soft, succulent and cooked well. Chef Sujeet was at his best on the grill. A Must try if you’re here. The sauces are specially created keeping in mind the indian pallete. If you like your meat spicy you can go for peri peri, if you like it sweet and smoky BBQ is your R2D2, If you can’t get over your last trip to Jamaica then Jerk is something you can try. To summarize everything here is great go for whatever you want to try
Pastas & Risottos
Once you’re done grilling and chilling you can head over to the live counter which creates Pastas and Risottos. Choose your veggie, your sauce, your meat, your type of pasta and voila. Sauces available were Arrabiata, Alfredo, Pesto, Pomodoro, Aglio Olio & Peperoncino.
We dished out a number of pastas from this section. I liked the Ones in pesto and a combination of Alfredo & Arrabiata. We also tried the aglio olio as well which is something you can try too. Go heavy on the veggies, meat & Sauce if you like it saucy like I do
In Risotto I ordered the house favourite the Mushroom Risotto and it was nothing short of magnificent. It ticked all the boxes of a good risotto in my dictionary and was subsequently liked by others on the table too. This risotto is something you should try if you’re here. There are other options too. I just don’t remember them at the time of writing this review so can’t elaborate
A Good Pizza is Like a Roti Sabzi for the Italian food lover. And that is exactly what you get in the solid brunch here. You can make your own pizza choosing your toppings and choice of sauce and crust and let the chef do the magic. We tried the BBQ Chicken and a Seafood Pizza and they were all nothing short of stellar. The crust being thin, crisp and loaded with toppings & cheese just what you would want on a sunny December afternoon. It is great to get some gourmet pizzas in a brunch.
Mains In Hot Pots
The Mains in Hot Pots at this brunch were like Cars in a Rohit Shetty Movie. All set in line for exploding the palette of the blogger. Though some of them really set the scene ablaze some turned out to be a dampener. The Seafood Paella, Asparagus & Truffle Risotto & Country Chicken In Rosemary Jus turned out to be dampeners.
One of the prime reason for this was the fact that these dishes aren’t meant to be on Hot Plates. They need to be made and immediately consumed. The more time they stay out they lose all their texture and that turns out to be a Fail like Mr Harvey Screwing up on announcing the right Miss Universe LOL. On The other hand the Fish in Pesto, The Garlic Mash, Char grilled Veggies, Baked Corn & Spinach and Vegetable Tagine were Rank Head Turners In the taste test. I got bowled by them Like South Africans getting out to spin in the last series 🙂
The desserts section was pretty loaded as it was in the Square. The team at Novotel give special care to this section as they know that the ending of a meal is very important and it has to hit the right note. But in my case I was so full that I could hardly eat any. This section was specially loved by the female team on the bloggers table. All of the desserts on the deck are created in house by the chefs. It consisted of a Warm, gooey and extremely fresh Chocolate Pudding (A Must try), Cream Caramel (Custard Lovers Go Yooo), Milk Pudding With Fruits, Black Forest Cake, Mix Fruit Cake (Blehhh I can never eat a cake with so many fruits on it. If you’re a person who gets fruitgasms from such cakes then you should try it out), mocha Chocolate cups (yum Yum Tum Tum LOL), Mix Fruit Tart (No More Fruits Please), Chocolate Brownie (Was the only disappointment for me in this section as it was not at all soft as a fresh brownie should be. It was disliked by all across the table), Black Jamun and Fresh Kalakand. Yea the last 2 desserts were indian but after all Yeh Dil Hai Hindustani. I loved both of them more than the others.
Novotel has hit the right chords of the guitar with this one. With The Square leading the way with its elaborate Sunday brunch, the all Italian brunch on a Saturday is a good change for the regular brunch consumer. A Feast fit for a king on a Saturday followed by a Sleepathon Sunday is all that you may want to need before you hit your Manic Monday Blues. Everything from the food, relaxing by the poolside enjoying some grills whilst overlooking the Arabian sea and the atmosphere seems right which makes the Olio Saturday brunch a must visit if you’re at Novotel.