The Dirty Martini - A neat period parody !!

I'm invited for what I anticipate, will be a high strung socialite evening of some bar book winners with a celebrity chef.....however to my surprise, I'm escorted to a rustic screeching metal only to be what looked like a backdoor entry.....and oh yes it indeed is. Through the doorway, from the back alley, to the back of the kitchen....with smiling chefs and into a vibrant looking bar with a period setting!! 
So while I've recovered from this clandestine entry, I'm accosted by someone no less than the coolest of the Chefs this side of the country - our very own Chef Saby complete with his highly infectious brand of smile who asks us to be served with some tea !! Tea ??? 
And promptly the guy comes out with a kettle and a kullar (earthen tumbler used widely in India to serve tea or hot milk) and pours me a cup !!

Left: Frozen Orange and Water Melon Martinis.                                                                   Right: Mulled Wine in a kullar

To my pleasant surprise the drink is actually Mulled Wine. A first for me.... Mulled wine is essentially red wine infused with spices like cinnamon, star anise and orange peel.....and the party begins.....people start pouring in and in no time the place is full and rocking with Olga our beautiful russian singer with a voice of a nightingale at the piano !!
So here we are at one the latest and most sought after bars of the city......

‘The Dirty Martini” - a 1920s speakeasy inspired bar set in Europe.
at the Olive @ Qutub

The 1920s, an opulent era of prohibition rooted in the US, when cocktails were served in tea cups; and where live bands, silent cinema and floor-shows marked entertainment. An era of molls and gangsters, of flappers and flamboyance; and where bars could be hidden away with a touch of a button in case of any raids.  They were basically illegal bars because manufacturing or trade of alcohol was prohibited and the only way around was bootlegging. These bars usually had a secret back door entry through dirty alleys, tricky doors and basements. Access to which was screened or password controlled. 
A speakeasy brings to mind a smoky bar with blues music, dancing to jazz, aromas of comfort food wafting out from the kitchen and a fun, relaxed celebratory atmosphere. 

The Dirty Martini is beautifully inspired by that era with old classical looking vibrant interiors, a grand piano which makes an essential part of the decor and an exuberant tavern.
Our perfect-as-ever hosts.....Chef Saby and his team had created a delicious menu for this bloggers' event with a list of some classy, sophisticated, yet dramatic cocktails. 
Amongst them my favourites were the Mulled Wine, The South Side - their signature drink, and the Cherry wood smoked Gin-n-Tonic. Oh and how could I forget the Jasmine infused Martini.... reminded of my 'after lunch' green tea....only a little more exciting !! :-))

The Dirty Martini Cocktail Menu is created by the 
Team of celebrity bartender  Zdenek Kastanek.

Clockwise: Big Boss Toast, The Smoking machine for the Smoked Gin-n-tonic, The Cheery wood smoked Gin-n-tonic
The beauty of the drink is that you can actually see the smoke atop the drink in the glass.
It adds another dimension to the good old gin-n-tonic.

Clockwise: Overlooking the bar, crowds at large, South Side - A signature cocktail. Oh I love these cups and saucers !!

Jasmine infused Martinis

Beer served in paper one should see !!!
The expert bartender at work !!
Besides these intoxicating beauties, as usual the food was delicious with an intelligent mix of finger foods. My favourites being the Shrimp Jammers, Gangster Slider - tenderloin patty with grilled onions, Shebeen Sandwich. Not to forget the Starving Mafia - Slow cooked lamb goulash with country style bread. For someone like me who is extremely fussy with their meats specially lamb this was a hands down winner !! I specially loved the presentation of this dish with the goulash being served again in tea cups !!

Left: Starving Mafia - Slow cooked lamb goulash with country side bread.  Right: Gangster Slider - Tenderloin patty with grilled onions.
To wrap up the evening there was a live dessert counter where a chef was creating The Smoking Cigar - Churros with Chocolate Sauce. Not just another chocolate sauce but a Dirty Martini special, with a mix of hot chocolate and bailey's.
And last but not the least, Nutty Auntie - Baked apple and walnut tart with maple drizzle.

Chef Saby was kind enough share his signature cocktail - The South Sider's recipe and also the Sheeban Sandwich.

The South Sider

Bombay sapphire - 50 ml

Lemon juice - 20 ml

Sugar syrup - 15ml

Mint - 6-8 leaf

Glassware - tea cup

Garnish -  mint leaf


Shake all the ingredients together in a shaker and fine strain into a cup and garnish with mint 

The Shebeen Sandwich


80 g Herbed artichokes in oil (1 pc)          
30 g Red Harissa
20 g Apricot Chutney
Feta Paste – 40 g      
1 French Baguette (4 pc)    
12 g Garlic butter     
Curled parsley – a few sprigs                                                 

For Red Harissa : 
500g Chilli paste
1 kg Olive oil 
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tbsp Cumin seeds 
40 g Lemon juice                  
For Apricot Chutney:
500g Apricots                       
1 litre Orange juice
5 nos. Star Anise
200g Honey  
For Harissa: 
Pound all the ingredients together and store in the refrigerator                                              
For Apricot Chutney: 
Boil apricot in orange juice, honey and star anise. Than reduce till the orange reduces to one fourth and apricot is soft enough                                               
For Assembly:
Toast sliced bread with garlic butter, pipe feta paste on top.
Grill artichoke on other side and toss it finally with red harissa. Arrange it on the bread with apricot chutney.   

Thank you everyone at the Dirty Martini and Chef Saby for having us over 
for a fun-filled evening !! 

Cheers !!


  1. Indeed a lovely evening...:) and you could not have described it better..:) Beautiful..!!

  2. Truly a surprising evening it was..totally beyond expectations with the backdoor entry and the alcohol so beautifully camouflaged in dainty tea cups and healthy "fruits"!:) And you have penned all that excitement and fun so well!!I want to have that South Side right now!!:))


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