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Rai and Olivie - two Santiago Restaurants

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 7 May 2011 15:35:59 -0300

I used to have restaurant reviews on my site.  Since they were probably the
most popular thing here I am not sure why I deleted them.  Anyway, I am going
to try post reviews here on the blog from time to time instead.


Rai - ** [2/5]
Modern chilean / fusion
Bravo 951, Providencia
http://www.rairestorant.cl/

This looks like a small place from outside; almost homely.  Unfortunately it's
not - the inside is large, modern and "designed" by someone.  Things go
downhill from there.

The service is crap.  A bunch of nervous young people who know nothing about
their job.  I suspect they don't even consider it a job - perhaps it's a way
to earn some money while they are at university.

Look, I'm a gringo.  I have an accent.  If I go to the supermarket I'm not too
surprised that I need to make an extra effort to convince the cashier that I
understand what they are saying, to reassure them that, yes, they can talk to
me.  I don't expect to have to coach the waiter at a "good" restaurant.  It's
your fucking job to make *me* feel welcome; not the other way round.

The food is an ambitious failure.  I chose something that sounded really cool
- it had coconut, fish, ham (not just ham, but ham with an adjective that made
it expensive - Serrano, I guess), omelette.  More stuff I can't remember.
Sounds like it cold be awesome, right?  It wasn't.  It was a tiny, dry,
omelette, with some ham inside, with a piece of boiled white fish balanced on
top.  In a bland, creamy sauce.  With a dish like that you're expecting it
to fuse into something new.  Instead it was a literal translation of the menu
- an uninspiring, apparently random, pile of food.  And since the place has
aspirations you don't even get that much to eat.

Paulina had pasta in an avocado sauce.  That sounds pretty cool too, doesn't
it?  Yet you'd be amazed how ordinary it can be.


Olivie - **** [4/5]
Russian
Av. Rancagua 396, Providencia
http://www.olivie.cl/

We're going to go back here!

From what we can gather, this place recently changed hands.  Curiously, that
means (I don't understand the logic here, am just reporting the facts) that
the menu is a collection of set-price combinations.  So you choose a price
level (2, 3 or 4 courses, I think) and then one of 2 or 3 *meals* at that
price - you don't choose individual courses.  Maybe it's a russian tradition
or something.

Anyway, that was kind of weird.  And the place, although nicely decorated
(lovely damask tableclothes!), had few people (we were, as ever, early).  So
we were apprehensive.

But the waiter was great and the food was awesome!  I started with a shot of
vodka, then had Borscht (beetroot soup - only it's not that beetrooty,
thankfully, and has a chunk of beef in it, and is very tasty indeed) followed
by pork with cabbage and sour cream.

Paulina had an apple drink (fresh and no extra sugar!) and then salad (looked
average to me, but she liked it), and finally potato/veggie dumplings (this
was the vegetarian option).

Then it turned out that you could order pudding, even if it wasn't in your
menu!  But there was only one option.  But it was exactly what Paulina
likes...  Meanwhile, I tried a russian beer (just my style - light ale).

So it was a weird experience.  Definitely mixed, but worth repeating (we tried
to ask how often the menu changed, but it seems it was too soon to tell...)


Andrew

Return to Olivie

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 22:32:34 -0300

We went back this evening (has De Cangrejo a Conejo closed? Luckily Olive is
nearby...).

Another excellent meal.  The menu is now "normal" - it hasy starters, soups,
main courses and desert.  We shared a starter that was a collectoin of
samplers - all delicious.  Then I had pork with cabbage while Paulia had a
soup.  It's a bit more expensive than I remember (the above with a beer and a
juice came to 24.000 including tip), but the food is excellent - tasty,
unusual, not too heavy.  Worth it.

Andrew

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