From Shah Rukh Khan to Saif Ali Khan, Olive Bar & Kitchen is no stranger to Bollywood stars. In fact, it’s been ‘the bar’ for celebrity hang outs and parties–the paparazzi always wait outside! The restaurant has given rise to loyalists–people flock here every now and then for its long-running Thursday bar nights and of course, the delicious Mediterranean food. As the popular spot in Bandra completes 21 years, the restaurant is set to release the Olive Book featuring top celebrity moments. Founder & MD, Olive group of restaurants, AD Singh gets candid and shares some of his memorable moments in an exclusive chat with us.
ELLE: Congratulations! How does it feel to have reached this milestone?
AD Singh (ADS): I became a restaurateur quite by chance. Back then, I had no idea that many restaurants don’t last a year and those that do fail in three years. This is a worldwide phenomenon and it’s therefore a lovely feeling to not only have lasted 21 years but also to still be fresh and popular across the country. What’s loveliest for me over the past few years is meeting regulars whose parents used to be our regulars before them. Just the best feeling!
ELLE: How has your journey been so far?
ADS: It’s been a tough journey with many downs, and if I didn’t really enjoy being a restaurateur, I don’t think I would still be here. Some of my contemporaries and I helped grow the cool, stand-alone restaurant sector from almost nothing to where it is today and many of these hurdles are natural when you’re breaking new ground. There have been incredible highs to balance the tough times as well–new places, meeting lovely people, having new concepts be much loved, being able to help so many and so much more. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
ELLE: Tell us about some of your memorable and special moments.
ADS: Just seeing our first restaurant complete 21 years is our proudest moment. We have many people who started their careers with us 21 years ago and are still with us today. So here’s raising a toast to some glorious years, employees, friends, family, associates and of course, our guests.
ELLE: Speaking of guests, do sharesome of your favourite celebrity encounters with us.
ADS: We’ve had some lovely memories. Our Thursday bar nights are the longest running bar nights in the country and we still own the city on those nights. We’re saving a few stories on our top celebrities for the Olive book but will share this one from our early days. Shahrukh Khan was the undisputed King of Bollywood when Hrithik Roshan first made a splash and was soon on his way to becoming a superstar. Some of the media made a huge brouhaha about the growing insecurity and animosity between these two. One jam-packed Thursday night, Shahrukh was dining at Olive when the blue doors opened and Hrithik entered. Immediately, the restaurant was abuzz with everyone wondering if the two would fight and what fireworks were about to happen. The whole crowd held its breath as Shah Rukh immediately got up and advanced towards Hrithik. And then to everyone’s surprise, the two gave each other a warm hug and chatted for a few minutes. Whew!
ELLE: What shall a first-time visitor try from the menu?
ADS: My personal favourites from the current menu are the Prawn Ajillio and Chef Chirag’s Greek style Chicken Skillet, both absolutely delicious while still being on the healthier side. Olive has always been known for its delicious thin crust pizzas, spiced espetadas and tapa style appetisers. I’d definitely recommend guests to try some of these and our signatures as well.
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ELLE: What is the way forward for Olive Bar & Kitchen?
ADS: Firstly, we’re looking forward to creating an exciting brand extension to Olive and secondly, opening the Olive Cafe nationally. We will be making a big splash early next year with two new food directions we are incorporating into our menus.