Address: Ground floor, Sheth House (Patel Chambers), Opposite Royal Opera House, Chowpatty Bridge, Girgaum, Maharashtra India
Time: 12 Noon to 11:30 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 1,400
Cuisines: Healthy Food, Continental, Mexican, Italian, European, Modern Indian, Indian, Asian
Facilities: Vegetarian Only, Vegan Options, Valet Parking Available, Desserts and Bakes, Wifi, Serves Jain Food, Live Sports Screening, All Day Breakfast, Kid Friendly
Viva vegetarians! And vegetarianism, too! Past 15 years, I’ve been trawling the world researching for vegetarian restaurants. Believe it or not, Berlin is leading as the vegan and vegetarian restaurant capital of the world. Aamchi Mumbai is pushing the envelope, too… move over Gujarati and Marwari thali eateries, there’s a molecular vegetarian (Spice Klub), a vegan bakery (Rolling Pin), a fine dine (Tuskers), and now joining the list is the latest, modern global Botanica Cafe and Diner. And what a range of committed vegetarians there is, too. Perfect to help me review these restaurants. Not only is the brilliant and soft-spoken Bimal Parekh CA to the superstars but also co-owns Mumbai city football club with Ranbir Kapoor. He is a committed vegetarian.
Surprise! Surprise! The renowned celebrity architect, Ashiesh Shah, who exuberates exclusivity, too, is pure vegetarian. His A-listers and Bollywood client list is also many miles long. Balancing the views of the two super-achiever vegetarians is a confirmed carnivore gourmet, Sheetal V Talwar. A serial entrepreneur, he launched India’s first film fund focused on telling socially relevant stories and producing meaningful cinema, critically successful films. He also set up the amazing bar ‘Lazy Dog’. Sheetal actually enjoyed the Rajma Galoti, because it had a meaty texture. And for the very same reason, Bimal Parekh did not like it at all. Our review follows.
Botanica Cafe & Diner, Girgaum, Mumbai: Decor
Perched opposite the Opera House, Botanica is a 65-seater modern, bright, cheery and tile-floored space. The interiors are a mix of classic and contemporary with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Botanica Cafe & Diner, Girgaum, Mumbai: Food
It’s not just about a medley of European, Asian and Indian dishes with a spin. There are innovative mocktails (a la well-known mixologist, Gaurish Rangnekar), artisan coffee, boutique tea too. The signature Botanical cooler (with a tree in it) and Mojito set a delicious tone. Zucchini and cheese rolls came up tops with their moist creaminess. Velvety guacamole with a goat cheese spread topped with pomegranate and beetroot compote was a unique spin on the mundane Avocado on toast. Fleshy texture of the Rajma Galoti, cardamom-spiked Yam Tikka had us asking for more. The mains were straight forward and tasty, be it the Thai Green Curry or Jackfruit Biryani.
Botanica Cafe & Diner, Girgaum, Mumbai: Minus Points
With a name like ‘Botanica’, we expected more of a green and organic decor. The biscuity base of the pizza, stodginess of the Soya Chaap and Pasta were avoidable. Ditto for the thick-skinned dim sum. Makhani Ravioli struck a discordant note.
Chocolate dessert not available, the rest of the desserts were avoidable. No alcohol.
Botanica Cafe & Diner, Girgaum, Mumbai: My Point
This new vegetarian entrant is open through the day. Dim sum to pizza, sushi to kebab, the menu meanders too much and needs to be pruned. However, most dishes do sashay stylishly deliciously with equally stylish cocktails. Many an intriguing international alliance copulates on the plate. Some are flavor-packed while others flop. The straightforward main dishes are tasty. Jain options, too. Kudos to Botanica for contributing a percentage of its revenue to the greening of Mumbai. Way to go!