Olive Beach

I’d heard good things about Olive Beach but I never went till a couple of days ago. The restaurant has white gravel-kind of pebbles strewn in the outside seating area and when you walk on the pebbles, you feel it give a little, which is a bit like walking on sand.

Presumably that’s part of the reason for the Beach in the restaurant’s name because as far as I could tell there were no waves or bikini-clad women, which probably is asking for a bit much. There’s also a section inside which seemed to go on forever but since I sat outside I can’t tell you much about it.

The table had a scented candle on top of it and we sat on wicker chairs (I think) with cushions, pretty cozy and comfortable on the whole. There were a lot of expats and not many Indians, which probably means that the expats like the place or that the Indians don’t like it or that I’m drawing too many conclusions.

We were handed a drinks menu by our courteous waiter and we decided that we didn’t alcohol, so we went straight for the main course. Hold on. There’s lovely warm bread, different kinds of bread, that they serve you with a slab of butter and herbed butter on the side. The breads were good and because they were served warm, a delight to eat.

I ordered the smoked tomato soup which was delivered in an almost shallow, wide bowl on a plate. The bowl had grated cheese in it and the waiter poured the soup from a small jug into the bowl. Delicious soup and the cheese added a little something to the experience. Could not make out any smoky flavour though.

For the main course, I had a bow-tie pasta dish with seared meat cubes and my companion (wink, wink) had a pasta with crumbled sausage dish. We both thought that our respective dishes were excellent and I especially enjoyed the sauce which was nicely flavoured without being overwhelming.

For dessert, my companion decided on a dark chocolate mousse. A curved chocolate shaving with some intricate design topped the dish, which was dark chocolate on a crumbly, nutty sort of base resting on a sauce. The chocolate was divine and had a hint of alcohol, a little bit of bitterness and went beautifully with the rest of the dish. A superb ending to a really good meal.

I’m not done yet.

Olive Beach’s food is really good but the prices are on the higher side and if you end up drinking and ordering starters, you will run up a big bill. The selection is also limited; for instance I could count only two soups which seemed strange to me. Maybe it’s their idea not to overwhelm you with too much choice as well. The food was good, so no complaints.

The service did take a long time though, so this is not a place to go when you’re ravenous. It is a good place to go if you want to practice being patient. The one thing that my companion and I did not appreciate was a bit of a sleight of hand with the final bill. There was an item that read ‘Service Charges’ (or something equivalent) and it was separate from the tax (VAT) that had also been charged. It was exactly 10% of the untaxed amount. Neither of us had seen anything on the menu or been told by the waiter that this charge would apply. It looked to us like a tip had been charged already.

Anyway, when we asked one of the waiters, he said that the service charge was for the valet parking (which we didn’t use), for the music, and yeah, in a way you could call it a tip. Looking back on the incident, I believe that the waiter was being condescending. I don’t like that. And, what is this stuff about charging for the music? CD-player being rented?

Why this left a bad taste in my mouth is that I would’ve tipped well. I’m a reasonably generous tipper much to the consternation of some of my friends. I think that the waiters and the rest of the staff should get something extra if they give you good service. This whole sleight of hand regarding the tip kinda conspired to leave a bad taste in the mouth.

The food was excellent, the ambience was good, so maybe it’s a place that you would like to check out sometime. Just be careful about your bill and you’ll enjoy your experience.

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8 thoughts on “Olive Beach

  1. I think places like these always have a small tax added to the bill. whether you should give an extra tip apart from the bill is debatable.. some people even consider it unethical while others feel its perfectly okay.

  2. Most of the places now charge service tax, which is, as you’ve mentioned, 10% of the bill amount. This is the tip, that goes to the folks working in the restaurant. No one mentions this, and one gets to see this only when the bill is presented, or on inquiring beforehand with the manager.

    I got bitten once too, not at the Olive Beach though, and when I asked, I got to know.

    A few times, when we’ve gone as a group of more than 5, we’ve been able to convince the manager to reduce the service tax to 5%.

  3. I don’t know about most of the places charging this service tax amount. This is the first time I’ve come across it. Maybe I need to take a careful look at the bills from now on. I’m pretty sure though because I tend to check the bill.

  4. I noticed that this happens in another place too, Desmond’s at Koramangala. They had a service charge too which the waiter said “goes to the whole company not to a single person”. What does that mean? I thought tips were meant to be shared by everyone.

    I’m starting to think that restaurants have a nice way of slipping a fast one over customers.

  5. I think, I think what he means to say is – If you tip the waiter, it goes to the rest of the guys, only if the waiter choses to share the tip. Otherwise, no one knows how much tip he’s got. But if it’s on the bill, the cashier can keep track of the amount, and divide it equally among the employees.

    I guess this is the equivalent of “Service Charge” in most countries abroad, which, if present on your bill, you don’t have to tip the waiter.

  6. The Service Charge that I’ve encountered abroad is usually mentioned when you are at the table or displayed in the menu. Usually, it’s for times when you have more than six people, etc.

    In both the cases I’ve mentioned there was no mention–that’s what bugs me. If restaurants are going to slip in charges like that, I really don’t feel like paying a tip over the charge.

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