AD Singh is a known name in the fields of leisure and restaurants. Over the last twenty years, he has been at the forefront of the hospitality industry of the country. His existing restaurants and new ventures are well recognized and have received much critical acclaim, bolstering the credibility and goodwill of the Olive umbrella. He is credited with the introduction of international cuisines and restaurant concepts hitherto unseen in India.
Born in Delhi in 1960, AD moved to Bombay for academic pursuits. He attended school at Cathedral and John Connon, followed by Jai Hind and St Xavier’s College. A scholarship to study Electrical Engineering at Lafayette College, took him to the United States.
AD made his restaurant business debut in 1990 with Just Desserts, a jazz café that served only coffee and desserts. Filling a huge void in the casual dining space, the restaurant was a success and was described by India Today as the ‘phenomenon of the nineties’. In 1993, AD worked with Jazz musicians and used Jazz as a property to market and develop the Guest Line Hotel and the Ripon Club. This period also saw a series of seaside jazz events that are remembered even today. 1995 saw AD conceptualize and create the very successful Jazz by the Bay for the Narang Group. In 1996 he opened Copa Cabaana the hugely popular Latin American bar in Bombay that is also credited with introducing Tapas to Bombay.
In 1998, he opened Soul Kadi and Soul Fry, which serve home-style coastal cuisine in an international cafe setting. The latter opened to rave reviews in South Bombay recently.
The Bowling Company, opened in 1999, set the standards for leisure in this country. In a sense, AD changed the perception of Central Mumbai to an up-market entertainment destination, and along with Alyque Padamsee, has been instrumental in the growth and success of this part of the city. In 2000, The Bowling Company underwent a successful private placement.
In the same year, AD Singh launched The Olive Bar and Kitchen which was voted as one of Bombay’s top five and India’s top 20 restaurants by an Outlook survey. This was followed by the opening of Suzie Wong, Bombay’s first floating bar – off Marine Drive.
In his first foray out of Mumbai in 2003, AD opened the Olive Bar and Kitchen in New Delhi, which was selected among the ‘best new restaurants in the world’. (Conde Nast Traveler Annual Hotlist 2004).
In 2005, the brand expanded with the launch of Olive Beach in Bangalore. Now in its 10th year, the restaurant and bar set in an elegant old villa transforms itself to bring forth a stunning new experience with a new alfresco lounge bar and a spacious yet intimate dining space.
Over the years, under the leadership of AD, Olive has grown into much more than a restaurant, becoming a way of life, a melting pot where life imitates art, and often, the other way around.
Having opened its doors several times to the art, fashion and literary fraternity in the past, AD’s vision for the Olive brand is committed to creating and hosting events that serve as platforms to showcase different forms – always celebrated amid fun, laughter, cocktails and conversation. This has contributed to Olive becoming one of the most popular and best-loved restaurant brands in the country, winning numerous awards and accolades across Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
Over the years, AD Singh has sought to constantly steer the Olive brand further in his quest for bringing forth a warm, cosy dining experience of high standards for its patrons.
Since 1990 he has encouraged the growth of the ‘stand alone’ restaurant business in India, giving it direction, confidence, leadership and definition.
Olive Bistro embodies the spirit of Olive in a more affordable and casual avatar. In mid 2013 Olive Bistro opened in Hyderabad followed by Gurgaon at the end of 2013. In 2015 Olive Bistro opened in Goregaon, Mumbai.
Other ventures by AD Singh under the Olive umbrella include Guppy by ai that opened in New Delhi in August 2013 in a lovely new space as a contemporary Japanese bar whose kitchen is a playful wonderland in a modern setting. Guppy by ai has now arrived in Mumbai with a fresh, new approach of a pop-up at Olive Mahalaxmi.
In December 2013, AD launched SodaBottleOpenerWala at Cyber Hub in Gurgaon. It is an ode to the dying legacy of a Bombay Irani cafe and has gained much critical acclaim since its launch. October 2014 saw the opening of SodaBottleOpenerWala at Khan Market New Delhi and in April 2015 the brand went national with openings in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Noida.
2013 also saw growth, expansion and investments in new concepts through strategic associations and partnerships by AD. These include The Local in South Mumbai – an easy, comfortable, neighborhood bar that offers delectable food, drinks, music and the happy go lucky, hedonistic lifestyle that Mumbai is best known for.
In 2015, he launched yet another concept restaurant Ek Bar at Defence Colony, Delhi; the new Indian Cocktail Bar serving a modern menu, inspired by regional Indian cuisine. Ek Bar pays homage to the art of story-telling. The promise of possibilities in ‘once upon a time’, ek bar. Tales that live in our memory, deeply connected with taste, aroma and flavours.
Partnered associations include Monkey Bar, India’s first gastropub with a presence both in Bangalore and Delhi and The Fatty Bao, an Asian gastro-bar that is a love child of two fabulous ideas – new Asian-style dining and a cool rooftop bar. The newest addition to the Olive group is Toast and Tonic in Bengaluru. Launched in February, 2016 it is the hippest new bar in town. With Toast and Tonic, the original Monkey Bar returns in a new avatar drenched in East Village chic and full of surprises.
AD entered the industry at a very nascent stage. Owing to his limitations of formal training and financial backing he relied on creativity and ideas to build restaurant brands. He then backed these with hard work, warmth and innovation and that has been the trademark of his success over the years.