The Good Life With IQ
If you want tips, tricks and insights on travelling, being vegetarian, sustainability and India, and from someone who’s been there and done that, then The Good Life With IQ is a good place to be! The inspiration for this blog was a trip to the Lakshadweep islands in early 2017. We had a really tough time trying to figure out how to plan our trip, and the fact that there wasn’t really much useful information on the net was really frustrating. When we got back, I decided to write a post on how we planned our Lakshadweep trip, so that other travellers could be spared our frustration. But once I got started, it was difficult to stop. And that's how The Good Life With IQ got where it is today.
Nice craft beer, a great view, and surprisingly good vegetarian food make Olive Bistro in Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills a great place to eat, drink and make merry.
Cuisine: Mediterranean (Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, etc.) | Format: High-end casual dining, craft brewery | Location: Durgam Cheruvu Lake Park, Jubilee Hills | Alcohol: Yes | IQ’s eco-friendliness score: 3/5
We first ate at Olive Bistro soon after it opened in 2013, but weren’t really impressed and pretty much wrote it off. And over the years, though we did visit on and off, it wasn’t really a favourite.
It seems, though, that while we weren’t looking, Olive Bistro quietly reinvented itself. We only noticed about a year ago, when they launched their on-site microbrewery, The Hoppery. When we visited to take a look at this new addition to Hyderabad’s growing craft beer scene, we realized that the ambience, food and overall experience had undergone a subtle but powerful change. And this is now one our favourite places to have a good time.
The entrance promises something unique
Also read: 6 unexpectedly great restaurants for vegetarians in Hyderabad
A relaxed ambience
The entire place has a very laid-back Greek-Mediterranean vibe, with an open-air path that leading downhill past cosy clusters of tables, chairs and benches. The Hoppery is off to one side and the bistro to another, and it’s difficult—but not very important—to tell where one ends and the other begins. Our favourite seating area is right at the bottom, under some umbrellas and open to the breeze. Add to that the soft classic rock music piped through a few scattered speakers, and that’s pretty much our definition of perfect. If you prefer it cooler, there’s an air-conditioned indoor setting off to the side too. The Hoppery has a more modern feel to its indoor space—an air-conditioned glass-walled room with a bar, tables and piped contemporary music.
The view from the top, with The Hoppery on the right, and the path leading down to the bistro on the left
Unexpectedly good vegetarian food and nice craft beer
Mediterranean cuisine isn’t really known for its vegetarian food, but it does have some pretty veg good stuff too. Olive Bistro builds on those basics to deliver a menu that will bring joy to the hearts of vegetarians, while still putting a smile on the faces of their non-veg friends.
And if you like a nice glass of craft beer, this is one place you definitely need to try. Competition among microbreweries in Hyderabad is hotting up, and this place is definitely among the better ones—though traditionalists might tend to disagree with the local twists that make the beers here unique.
The Good Life With IQ recommends
Linguine, tomato and burrata
For the uninitiated, linguine is like spaghetti, but thicker and slightly flat. And this simple but incredibly tasty dish pairs these long noodles with lots of cherry tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, topped off with green peppercorns and creamy burrata cheese. That’s pretty much the perfect embodiment of Italian cuisine!
The simple but extremely flavoursome linguine, tomato and burrata
All Olive Bistro’s pizzas are thin-crust, just the way we like them. With its crisp base and a topping of stringy mozzarella cheese, tomatoes (yes, we like our tomatoes!) and basil, this pizza would have been on our favourites list anyway. But the tangy kick of the complex balsamic vinegar glaze just takes it to a whole new level!
If you’re really a rice person who’s just pretending to like pasta, this one will gladden your heart. A nice bowl of saffron-flavoured rice covered with vegetables slow-cooked in a dark gravy, this is real comfort food—especially during cold weather. It’s got a bit of a peppery kick, though, so be careful if you’re not into spicy food!
The comforting (and spicy) crock pot
Nutella French toast
This one is something to make dessert-lovers rejoice! When we first ordered it, we had no idea how huge and sinful it would be, and wondered if we could finish it after a large meal. But finish it we did, from the thick slices of custard-soaked bread filled with gooey chocolate-hazelnut cream, down to the scoops of homemade coffee and pomegranate ice cream. And I’m betting you will too! A word of caution: the recipe most likely involves eggs, so if that’s a problem, check before ordering.
The sinful but irresistible Nutella French toast with its two scoops of homemade ice cream
Also read: 12 vegetarian dishes from all over India that you need to try
IQ’s eco-friendliness score: 3/5
More and more, we’ve seen restaurants throw sustainability out of the window for a supposedly-better customer experience. But when that experience comes at a cost to the planet and the environment, we would personally rather give it a pass. Make no mistake, almost everything we all do—including eating out—negatively impacts the planet in some way. So we’ve decided to stay away from places that could reduce that impact, but don’t.
For us, Olive Bistro scores points with the large amount of open-air seating it has, taking full advantage of being high on the hillside above the Durgam Cheruvu lake. They also offer you the option of choosing plain water instead of bottled, so you can save on some plastic there. I mention this because some places ONLY serve bottled water!
Unfortunately, what we didn’t like was the design of The Hoppery. It’s essentially a glasshouse that holds in heat because of its design, but doesn’t have any windows. This is despite the amazing breeze. The means that, even if it’s cold and windy outside, the air-conditioning still needs to run, using up unnecessary electricity.
The bottom line
Away from the bustle of the city, and high up on the hillside, Olive Bistro is a really nice place for a relaxed meal and some good beer. The open-air seating might get a little hot in the summer, but it’s still worth it for the fresh air and breeze in the evenings. And while the setup is somewhat environment-friendly, they could do more.
The view of the lake from the lower seating deck
Getting to Olive Bistro
Getting here is a little tricky, even if you’re familiar with Jubilee Hills. The easiest route would be to start at the Jubilee Hills Check Post and drive towards Film Nagar. Turn right onto Road 45 at the first traffic signal, and then the first left (it goes off at a slight angle). Then, just keep going until you can’t go any further. The road goes on about two kilometres through sleepy-looking by lanes and up a very steep hill. Once you see the rear gate of the BR Ambedkar Open University on your right, you’re almost there. Keep going up the scary-looking lane and, at the fork, right into the gate of the Durgam Cheruvu Lake Park. The entrance to Olive Bistro is in the far left corner of the parking lot.
Use this Google Maps location to navigate.
Also read: Things to do on the weekend in Hyderabad: The ancient rockscape of Fakhruddingutta