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Beyond soups and salads

Varied ingredients, cuisines and taste — health food is ticking all these boxes

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(Clockwise from top left) Keto Crackers and Vegan Cheese Dip at Bastian; Steamed potato in black bean sauce at Foo; Savoury Buckwheat Pancake at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu; Kale & Kaffe’s Mexican Chipotle Bowl; Carbon Dimsums at Sante Spa Cuisine; Tuna Poke Bowl at 212 All Good
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A couple of days ago, Foo opened its doors to the city and amidst some amazing sushi, cocktails and mains, the new restaurant and bar from Tham Brothers offers some deliciously healthy fare. The Foo Steamed Baskets offer a range of dishes such as Garden green chopped chilly with steamed veggies along with veg oyster sauce, Okra maldon sea salt that sees fresh okra steamed along with garlic and Snapper Thai bird chilly with steamed red snapper and Tom yum paste based sauce, among others. Certainly no lack of imagination here! 

When it comes to health food, eateries across the city are seeing a shift in trend. It no longer has to be limited to a certain range of dishes or ingredients. Chef Kelvin Cheung of Aallia Hospitality puts it down to the growing awareness and knowledge about what we are putting inside our bodies. “People realise that just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it can’t taste good. You can easily make things that are healthy, taste amazing as long as you put some effort behind them. So we are able to cater to that segment of the market while still retaining our style of cooking,” he adds. 

TASTE DOES MATTER

When self-confessed junk eaters, Kaneesha Jain and Bhavesh Jain dropped in at Sante Spa Cuisine in Pune, they couldn’t get enough of their healthy pizzas, flavoured butters and risottos. “A number of eateries offer healthy food but either there are hardly any options or the food is not tasty,” says Bhavesh. Wanting to go beyond the obvious, the couple decided to open an outlet of the restaurant right here in Mumbai, at Bandra Kurla Complex. From a Quinoa and Broccoli Upma to Carbon Dimsums, to Multigrain Khichada and Whole Wheat Spaghetti, the eatery offers a lot of options for those who wish to indulge their taste buds, without piling on those extra kilos. 

The use of ingredients such as Moringa (Drumstick), handchurned butters, cottonseed oil, pink salt and activated carbon among others, ensures that their clientele in the office district do not go back feeling any of the sleep coma associated with heavy-duty foods. For those looking to indulge their sweet tooth, they have options such as a protein and iron-rich Coconut and Palm Jaggery Ice Cream, a Lemon and Lemongrass Baked Yogurt with khandsaari sugar and soaked chia seeds and Valrhona Chocolate Pie with an oat flour base.

Steering clear of preservatives and embracing everything that’s good for the gut is 212 All Good’s mantra. And while they do serve juices and smoothies, there are also House Colas on offer. Chef Paul Kinny elaborates, “When was the last time you drank cola without cringing or feeling guilty? The spirit menu has its own share of wows with a soda machine for in-house botanical sodas, even the tonic water and colas are preservative-free and made in-house from scratch.” 

A BIT OF IMAGINATION

A little bit of effort and imagination goes a long way in making even the healthiest of dishes more tasty. How else would you explain a Jowar Fettuccine Alfredo at 212 All Good, a Savoury Buckwheat Pancake at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu or an Avocado and Paprika Mushroom with Truffle Oil Toasties at Kale & Kaffe? In a bid to create healthy dishes as well as to serve delicious flavours, Chef Kelvin has started Whole And Then Some, customised meal plan service that is available for pick up from Bastian. “One just has to see how the production supply chain has changed. Right from the basic stuff to organic vegetables, kale to brussle sprouts, all sorts of ingredients are readily available now. And with a little bit of effort, you can make them interesting,” he says. 

A lot of Chef Kelvin’s inputs are finding their way from his personal learnings as well. “I have been eating healthier and cleaner and have learnt what things are good for my body, and what my clients want,” he adds. Well, if eating out means tastier food, without piling on the extra calories, then it’s certainly a win-win situation for all! 

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