Pillar-129, the new multi-cuisine restaurant in town with a drive-in option, seems promising
We sit muttering under our breath as we wait for food to be served in our car at Pillar-129, the new drive-in restaurant in town. It is a sultry evening, and a portable table has just been placed for those of us in the front seat. The unfortunate two at the back will have to make do eating with their plates in hand. It is not exactly the most comfortable position to eat in. But determined to try the drive-in experience, we give the dine-in space a miss. The restaurant serves Mediterranean, Continental, Pan Asian, and North Indian, and has been named after the 129th pillar of the under-construction fly-over that it faces.
The concept of a drive-in is not entirely new to the city, according to P Mohan Chandar, the managing director of Nikvin Hospitality Services that runs the restaurant. “We had them some 20 years ago in Coimbatore; I was a regular at one opposite my property,” he recalls. “A drive-in will help people enjoy their meal in their personal space, with less contact during the pandemic,” he adds.
The menu is elaborate: with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options under each cuisine, it is not easy to make up one’s mind. We start with stuffed baked mushrooms and stir fried prawns from the Mediterranean section. The mushrooms have gooey parmesan and mozzarella centres, and are enveloped in a crunchy coating of herbed crumbs. The prawns — cooked with a drizzle of lemon zest, garlic and parsley — are perfectly done. They boast a mellow tanginess and the flavour of garlic holds the spices together.
Next up is pasta Alfredo: we polish it off in minutes. The dish, neatly done, is a good choice to be had after the flavourful prawns, we realise. And so we gradually stop complaining about the heat and our stiff necks, turn up the volume in the car stereo: 90s Tamil songs are playing on the radio. The chef also whips up salt-free French fries for the four-year-old in our company.
Burmese chicken curry noodles, served separately with a creamy sauce, fried garlic, chopped coriander leaves, and chilli flakes as accompaniments, follows. The noodles, punctuated by chunks of crispy fried garlic, when had with a generous portion of the sweetish, nutty, curry — the base is coconut milk — is comforting.
For dessert, we go in for the tried and tested: Caramel custard and crème brulee. Both dishes live up to our expectations.
Admittedly, by the end of our meal we have weathered several accidents. One of them involving the four-year-old, white sauce, and a once clean car seat; and the other, a clumsy hand, chilli flakes, and a mobile phone. Let’s just say that we drove out with a car that smelled of cheese, coconut, and chillies and a lesson — never dine inside your car with a child in tow, even during a pandemic.
The restaurant is located on Avinashi Road, adjacent to National Model School. The drive-in facility can accommodate 24 cars. For bookings call: 7373591119, 2575555. A meal for two is priced at ₹2,000.