Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 02/14/13 9:11 AM

Feature: That Sugar Rush!

Drowning in a sugar rush at Olive Beach restaurant

The strawberry consommé-drenched yogurt sorbet slides down my throat, smooth as honey but with a deliciously gritty undertaste. I take a deep breath of appreciation which coincides with my dinner companion’s rueful comment.

“This is splendid. But omg, shouldn’t we be thinking of the damage it will to do our sugar count?”

Sugar count? At this point, the only sugar count I want to indulge in is the number of desserts I can ingest before I die happy. I get a brainwave. “Look,” I tell her. “Look at the basil at the base of the consomme.

Basil is good for the heart.”  She gives me one of those looks but before she can retort, the next course is upon us. This is an orange meringue filled with passion curd and served with a tangy chilled lemon sorbet and crispy sesame palmiers.

In between mouthfuls, I shoot an enquiring look at my carping friend. “This. Is. Amazing,” she says with pauses for dramatic effect. I raise my dessert spoon in applause.

The main course arrives next. There is a choice of pineapple, in a moist pineapple upside-down cake served with roasted pineapple sorbet, mascarpone cream and red wine gel, and chocolate which is in the form of a chocolate s’mores tart, served with oatmeal anglaise and cinnamon toast ice.

The cinnamon ice is the acme of sweet deception in that no one could possibly guess that the base of this silky smooth concoction cinnamon buns soaked overnight in milk and then passed through a rigorous sieving process.

Chef Girish is at my elbow, earnestly deconstructing the dish. A shrewd expression comes over my friend’s face. “Yes but what about the calorie count?” she asks.

Calorie count? “Mad or what,” I ask her, spooning some of the chocolate tart happily. ‘Tis indeed a sad moment when one has to count calories even as one is ingesting chocolate.
The discerning reader by now will have cottoned onto the fact that we are obviously at a set course meal, and the courses are all exclusively sweet.

Well yes, this is Olive Beach’s Chef Manu Chandra at work again; his latest brainwave is feeding more- than-willing patrons like me, as much of creative desserts as they can eat.

The result is ‘O Fudge,’ a three-course fixed price dessert menu promotion at the restaurant, early this month.

Course four is what I’ve been waiting for: it’s a caramel pot de crème served with milk chocolate maple cream and smoked vanilla foam. My more circumspect friend watches me polish off the content of my plate in seconds.

“You really do love your sweets, don’t you,” she says, her tone veering between disapproval and dismay. I can’t reply. I’m too busy investigating the bottom of my caramel pot which has a confection of ground nuts. In any case, talking while eating is not good manners.

The wind-up course is petit fours; we get éclairs and macaroons with an accompaniment of freshly brewed coffees, Mandarin liqueur, Cognac, Sambuca and Café Patron, the beverages at additional cost. The éclairs are perfect, the macaroons just a tad more moisture-filled than ideal. I notice my carping companion neatly finishing her portions.

She looks over at my plate and urges me to finish my éclair. This has more to do with an aversion to wasting food than anything else but I am only too happy to comply. Replete, we leave the place.

“I tell you, with a desserts-only menu like this, who needs food,” I say. It is more a reflective statement than a question. My friend opens her mouth to say something stinging about people who gorge mindlessly on sweets, takes one look at my blissful face and shuts up.

This ran in DECCAN HERALD of 27 Oct 2012.


dessertsFoodManu ChandraOlive Beach restaurant

Sheila Kumar • February 14, 2013

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