With new culinary fusions and an interesting cocktail, the Olive Group opens its new Cocktail Bar in the Capital
Nestled in the heart of ancient havelis and Mughal ruins, in a burgeoning fashion district, Serai is a culinary cocktail bar by AD Singh’s Olive Group. Here old world meets New India, in a subtle harmony of trend with tradition.
Serai is a beautiful, travel inspired bar which also has a terrace overlooking the lush greens of the Mehrauli ridge. It is also a home to one of the most beautiful sunset views in the city.
In ancient times, Serai was known to be a tavern and it often served as a resting place to recover from the day’s journey. It also served as a gathering place and a social spot to unwind, drink and eat; where strangers would come together to share tales of their travels. Usually built around the ancient Mughal highways, gradually as time progressed, the concept of Serai fell into disuse as routes shifted.
AD Singh, MD, Olive Group of restaurants, says ‘People overseas increasingly plan their evenings about where to go have drinks as much as they do about good dining options. However, I’m surprised by how such few, cool bars exist in the city. So, we wanted to open a space that has the right vibe and be largely full of people you know and enjoy hanging with. For this purpose, globetrotter and gastronome, Chetna Chopra, and brand advocate and fashion maverick Amanda Bhandari along with Sabina Singh, Design Director, Olive Group of restaurants have collectively curated a travel inspired cocktail bar experience. The food menu, by Chef Dhruv Oberoi, and cocktails by Mixologist Harish Chhimwal reflect a travel inspiration with global flavours.’
THE LOOK at Serai
The interiors have various influences of our team’s travels: a hand painted tropical wall, postcards from around the globe and quotes we find fascinating. The seating is fuss free and the lighting, happy. If you see our crockery, you know that the edges aren’t perfect, and wabi-sabi is what makes the heart of Serai too.
“Serai means a resting place, a travel house, an inn. Where Olive is housed today was in fact a Serai in the old days. The inspiration here was to create a resting place for people that is warm and welcoming, pleasing and gentle to the eye. A space that sits beautifully with nature. There is a liberal use of natural fabrics, colours and graphics that evoke a natural surroundings” shares Sabina Singh.
STAPLES at Serai
The food is comfort and messy, yet gourmet and sexy. The food menu combines seasonal and local produce, herbs, and delicious flavors culminating into gastronomic small plates by Chef Dhruv Oberoi. Locally sourced golden fried chilies and pimiento stuffed with manchego cheese mousse is served with slow-cooked traditional Mexican mole. Our signature ‘The Angle Burger’ made of tiger prawn patty, bacon XO, lettuce, pork skin cracker and shrimp cracker are inspired by seafood flavors of the orient. Korea makes an appearance on the menu in the form of ‘burnt ends chicken, fermented pickle, garlic chips, and umami mayo’. The idea of this dish came from the Delhi belly’s undying love for chicken tikka, but with a comfort twist!
To break-away from the usual pizza offerings across the city, after much R&D we’ve created a perfectly fermented and bubbly crust from our homemade sourdough. These delectable sourdough flatbreads are topped with typical Italian toppings of ‘patê tartufungo and Parmigiano-Reggiano’ for the vegetarians, and Beijing flavors of ‘plum and sishito chilli pulled duck’ for the non-vegetarians. The ‘Fritto Misto’; our take on the favorite beach snack hailing from the Italian Riviera is a crunchy seafood mix of fresh anchovies, shrimp, crab fritters served with samba and dried shrimp aioli. Japanese influences are also seen through the unusual savory (homemade) cornets filled with seaweed and tuna tartare and an option of classic avocado guacamole. Our Tibetan travels gave way to the hearty palm-sized slow-cooked ‘Lamb Buddha Dumpling’, and ‘Shroom Buddha Dumpling’ which come topped with a crunchy net.
CULINARY COCKTAILS at Serai
Dedicated to the craft of cocktail and innovation, one of the main offerings at the bar are the handcrafted cocktails made with fresh culinary ingredients, tastefully paired with bite-sized pintxo. Sipping every cocktail at the bar is like taking a vacation – inspired by the team’s travels across the world, especially Latin America, Asia and Europe.
The mixologist Harish Chhimwal along with Chetna Chopra has created a selection of cocktails. A tangy tamarind margarita with kaffir lime leaves is inspired by the flavors of Thailand and Burma. Here the cocktail is paired with sago cracker, peanut puree, tamarind pearls bringing together quintessential South East Asian flavours. The Latino meets Indiana ‘Passion fruit & Gondhoraj’ cocktail is paired with staple South American produce in a pintxo made of ‘corn toast, purple corn, fermented cream’. ‘Turmeric Old Fashioned featured in the menu comes with a pintxo packed with flavors of north-east India ‘puffed rice, Naga chili and jaggery’. The Mexico inspired ‘Corn & Coriander’ is exquisitely paired with the traditional flavors of slow cooked mole; chilli and chocolate. The ‘Sangria Sour’ is befittingly complimented with a ‘Spanish olive, citrus, paprika’ pintxo! The homemade marmalade infused sour and Greek inspired ‘Citrus & Chilli’ is tastefully paired with the flavors of the islands ‘golden grain dakos, feta puree, preserved figs’.
THE VIBE at Serai
At Serai, conversations flow over tippling glasses as strangers become friends, and friends become family. The bar will focus on music, artistry and entertainment. They have created a very own signature bar drinking game to add some more juice to your drunken escapades! ’The Deck of Revelations’ is a one of its kind card game has been conceptualized by the team and our hipster designer Tanya Bedi. Believe us; you’re in for a scandalous surprise with this one! The music will be melodic, groovy and eclectic. The Vibe at Serai has undiscovered talent on our radar and special nights in the pipeline which will be created through collaborations. The venue will also hold weekly live nights bringing together musicians such as singers, songwriters, vocalists, percussionists, instrumentalists, audio-visual artists, and DJ’s on one platform.
The simple goal is to provide a welcoming spot to enjoy a memorable cocktail, some great conversations, and deliciousness.