Of Flappers and Foie Gras
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Dirty Martini, Olive Bar and Kitchen's new speakeasy-inspired bar, does an incredible job of bringing the '20s in vogue.
You may not have a "Time-Turner" issued by the "Ministry of Magic", but at Dirty Martini, you can travel back to the roaring '20s. Mind you, this is not an actual speakeasy — those secretive dives which could be accessed through grimy back alleys after whispering the password to a lurking bag lady, during Prohibition — but merely inspired by one. Having said that, Olive proceeds to play with the concept in ways that would have made Eliot Ness — the famous American prohibition agent — and his posse, clutch their hair in a sober frenzy.
The very name is about as subtle as you can get in terms of branding, as a Martini can't be dirty without the presence of an Olive. We see, and love, what they did there. Then there is the décor, which also pays an ode to the time when women shed their corsets and inhibitions, and men's monocles matched their cigar cases. Tiffany lamps, tasseled cushions, walls done up in chequered paint and red plush leather, rickety wooden furniture, chintz armchairs and a baby grand piano — all make a veritable splash (of elan, not moonshine).
The terrace is accessed through a living staircase, wooden steps wrapped around one of the restaurants several trees. It is here on most nights that Olga (she of the smoky amber voice) sings burlesque numbers and jazz classics. She traverses the restaurant, belting out ditties from the bygone era, adding a new meaning to "dining entertainment".
Dirty Martini does a magnificent job in other departments as well. Martinis, of course, dominate the bar menu, but the speakeasy cocktails — featuring teacups filled with delicious boozy potions — might just turn you into a "teatotaler". However, it is the food menu that reveals Dirty Martini for the den of decadence that it truly is. While the names and the dishes themselves have their origins in the smoky, dimly-lit saloons and the speakeasy subculture of the '20s, the chefs at Olive have tweaked them in a Machiavellian manner.
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