Diet meets Delicious

While a number of new health cafes are opening in the city,other popular restaurants are also revamping their menu to accommodate the calorie-conscious

Written by Meenakshi Iyer | Published: September 21, 2013 5:44 am

When 34-year-old Maud Chuffart moved to India,she wanted to create a space where she could promote yoga,which included performing the asanas as well as eating healthy. Thus,she opened The Yoga House — nestled in a quiet bylane of Bandra’s Chimbai village — three years ago. While this yoga studio-cum-health cafe has turned into a go-to place for healthy eating,Chuffart says her biggest challenge was to rid health food of its “boring” reputation and make it delicious,especially for calorie-conscious food lovers.

“If a dish doesn’t taste good,I don’t serve it,” says Chuffart who has designed the entire menu. “I enjoy eating what I serve.” The Yoga House offers a variety of salads,sandwiches,juices and milkshakes using fresh and organic produce which is sourced locally. However,the cafe is best known for its quinoa salad and Mykonos tartine from the Greek islands — toasted bread topped with cucumber,tomatoes,olive and basil mixed with a healthy dollop of feta cheese and olive

oil dressing.

Over the last couple of years,Mumbaikars have warmed up to healthy eating alternatives. Several health cafes have cropped up across the city,including Kala Ghoda Cafe in the neighbourhood of south Mumbai,Leaping Windows Cafe in Versova,Birdsong Cafe in Bandra and Lokhandwala’s Fresh Healthy Cafe.

But Monish Rohera of Pishu’s,which serves healthy juices and sandwiches,admits that marrying taste with health can be tricky. “Though we try to keep most of our menu healthy,30 per cent of it is indulgent because we don’t want to lose out on that chunk of the market.” Pishu’s attempts of turning a pizza into a healthy snack may have worked because of its crispy lavash base but a salad with zero oil was quite a downer.

Higher work pressure,rigid deadlines and lack of physical activity have added to the woes of regular office-goers. In such a fast-paced,hyperactive lifestyle,finding time to cook healthy is almost next to impossible forcing many to look for convenient options near their workplaces. “As more and more people turn to dining out and move towards convenience food at cafes and restaurants,the need to make informed food choices becomes increasingly important,” say nutritionist Mehar Panjwani.

Arpana Gvalani,owner of Gostana says,“There is a rise in the eating-out market and these people like to stay fit and eat without feeling the guilt.” Gostana,which is popular for its burgers — traditionally categorised as junk food — has managed to bring its own twist by serving up steamed patties instead of the otherwise fried varieties.

Not willing to be left behind,popular restaurants too,are working towards introducing waistline-friendly dishes on their menus. Take for example Suzette,a creperie with branches in Nariman Point and Bandra,which serves light treats such as fruits,honey and granola with eggless crepes,apart from savoury crepes prepared using buckwheat. Otto Infinito in Bandra-Kurla Complex has healthy breakfast options such as couscous and pancakes made without eggs. Pali Village Cafe serves a pumpkin and quinoa construct with sauteed spinach and coconut cream.

The trend has thus introduced Mumbaikars to several ingredients that may not necessarily appeal to the Indian palate at first go,such as polenta,couscous and buckwheat among others. But served as part of specially-designed health menus,customers do gradually take to them. As Chuffart points out,“Eating healthy requires discipline and some getting used-to.”

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