Greener pastures in SoBo?
Does a restaurant offering a host of options for Opera House's vegetarian residents go beyond the mundane fare offered by competitors in the neighbourhood? We find out
On most occasions, we have had a mediocre experience at restaurants in and around Opera House. While all of them have the benefit of prime location, often inside a heritage building, the food is usually uninspiring, and the flavours, basic.
We wonder if By The Drive (BTD), located on the fourth floor of a building that houses another veg bar and a restaurant, falls in this category. Located bang opposite the Royal Opera House, BTD offers the usual mix of vegetarian options that would please every member of a family — there's Chinese, North Indian and Italian, and Jain variants of several dishes. Plus, there is a mix of bar food including fries, bruschetta and nachos to go with the alcohol on offer.
The décor has elements of Art Deco mixed with a casual local bar vibe. We try to look outside the window to catch a glimpse of Marine Drive at night but only manage to see a local train chugging below. We order beer and a plate of nachos grande (Rs 295), fully loaded with all the usual nacho trappings. The quantity is great, so is the cheese sauce, but the salsa and guacamole taste mediocre, and the nachos have an odd desi flavour.
We test BTD further with a risotto funghi (Rs 355), made in a creamy mushroom sauce, which we don't mind, but it again falls in the local-restaurant-doing-Italian variety. The Mediterranean pizza, which comes with a stuffing of mozzarella, basil, a few veggies and feta fares better. Though the tomato sauce is a tad sweet (we expected it to be), the thin pizza packs in flavour. We pick the veg Mongolian (Rs 325) from the mains next, which turns out to be a generic spicy Asian sauce served with chilli pepper fried rice, which is palate pleasing nonetheless.
BTD is your simple neighbourhood restaurant with upgraded interiors and a bar. It looks quite charming in the morning with ample sunlight streaming in. It is that simple place where you order your dinner from, on days when you just can't be bothered with fancy menus featuring dishes that you need to Google.
At: By The Drive, fourth floor, Patel Chambers, Opera House, Girgaum.
Time: Noon to 1.30 am
By the Drive didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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