It's rare to find a restaurant serving Indian, Italian, Singaporean and Filipino food, all in one place. Rarer still to find such a place along Visayas Avenue in Quezon City. Oliva Bistro Cafe is one such place.
The reason behind Oliva Bistro Cafe's diverse menu is Chef Kannan, who comes from India, trained in classic Italian cuisine, worked in Singapore, and married to a Filipina. This diversity brings the best of each cuisine in the different dishes served by Chef Kannan and wife Denden, with each dish remaining true to its origins, no fusion dishes here. Conventional wisdom often dictates the need to be single-minded and focused in an increasingly competitive culinary landscape, but here at Oliva Bistro Cafe, one is encouraged to experience the journey of the husband and wife team as they serve you the different dishes they love from different culinary cultures.
As you enter Oliva Bistro Cafe, you are immediately drawn to the wall featuring iconic landmarks giving you an idea of the type of cuisine served in this cool spot. The place exudes a very casual and comfortable vibe, just the place to relax along the busy avenue. Recently, we got to sample some of Oliva Bistro Cafe's signature dishes, and it was fun trying different cuisines all in one sitting.
We start with some of Oliva Bistro Cafe's Iced Milk Tea (P 70) and Oliva Iced Tea (P 65), brewed from tea leaves imported from India. Cool and refreshing, a perfect start to any meal at Oliva Bistro Cafe. With so many tempting dishes from the menu, we let Chef Kannan and Denden do the menu recommendations as we enjoyed the drinks.
Our meal starts with Oliva Bistro Cafe's Roti Prata with Curry Sauce (P 80). The rich curry sauce blends well with the hot roti, and you can specify the heat level for the curry if you prefer a mild spiciness. The soft, chewy and unleavened bread is perfect in soaking up the tasty curry sauce. And we're off to a great start...
Next up, Chef's Wife Salad (P 195), fresh crisp romaine with slices of tender grilled chicken, caramelized walnuts, ripe mangoes and grapes in a deliciously different dill dressing. According to Denden, Chef Kannan didn't just want to call his unique salad the usual "chef's salad." The dill dressing gives this dish a rich and sharp note that complements the fruits and crisp greens. And Chef's Wife Salad delivers big time on flavor.
Then we sampled Chef Kannan's take on something familiar, Oliva Bistro Cafe's Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip (P 180). Perfectly crisp on the outside, and juicy inside, with a sweet and lightly spicy glaze, perfect with the blue cheese.
A light and all-vegetable pasta dish arrived next, the Pasta Oliva (P 135 Solo, P 195 Sharing), a simple olive oil and garlic based pasta with so much flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers and parsley. A meal in itself, a cool healthy option.
A rich and hearty all vegetable Spinach and Mushroom Cannelloni (P 195) came next, baked pasta filled with mushrooms and spinach. The flavors of the rich tomatoes and creamy cheese really makes this dish so homey and comforting. Another good vegetarian option from Oliva Bistro Cafe worth checking out.
Then the main dishes arrived, starting with the Butter Chicken Masala (P 230, available in mild or spicy), boneless tender chicken breast cooked with Indian spices in tomato and butter sauce, served with butter parsley rice. The creamy, bright orange colored sauce is richly spiced, great with the butter parsley rice, or some roti. The tender chunks of chicken breast is perfectly cooked, and the masala sauce pairs well for some awesome flavors.
Then, the Pesto Crusted Baked Salmon Fillet (P 325, served with Pasta Oliva or Butter Parsley Rice), arrived. The salmon fillet is perfectly baked, remaining moist and tender, and the pesto crust gives it a delicious layer of subtle flavor.
And finally, the hearty and filling Osso Bucco Milanese (P 325), classic Italian Beef Shank Stew, ideal for sharing. Tender chunks of beef in a flavorful sauce enriched with marrow, again, perfect with the butter parsley rice.
Oliva Bistro Cafe also offers fresh baked products daily to go with their dishes, or with their Party-to-Go Packs of crisp crostini, dips and sauces, just in time for the coming holiday season.
It was an amazing lunch, with each unique dish allowing diners to sample something new and different at reasonable prices. If you happen to be along Visayas Avenue, this is one cool find.
Great food, great value. Special thanks to Executive Chef Kannan and Denden for an awesome lunch. And when you're in Visayas Avenue, take a second look. Now, you'll find more than the usual eatery along the busy strip. Check it out, you'll be glad you did.
Oliva Bistro Cafe is located at Unit 101, G/F, #77 Visayas Avenue, Quezon City or call 990-5342 for inquiries. You can also visit www.olivabistrocafe.com for more information.
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