When you hear of a restaurant serving delicious vegetarian meals without the use of onion or garlic you are bound to be intrigued. When someone tells you that the restaurant is located in the upmarket Sadashivnagar area and serves ‘designer’ vegetarian fare – it piques your interest some more. And finally when you read that the restaurant not only serves vegetarian fare, but that all of it is Sattvic as well – the deal is sealed!
The concept of Sattvic food is not new to me – all temples in India serve it as Prasad (food blessed by the Gods). The reason I used to frequent the Hanuman temple near my house, as a kid, was because of the yummy Prasad. (Food has always been my focus!)
Sattvic food is referred to as a ‘yoga diet’ – something that leads to clarity and equanimity of mind, while also being beneficial to the body. So the diet is rich in fresh and unprocessed food. These tenets of Sattvic cooking are reflected in Sattvam, where they develop food fresh everyday and use it up on a continuous basis. This ensures that ‘Ama’ or toxins are kept at bay. That is why leftover food is never used, as it is considered Tamasic (harmful to the body). Sattvic food as a concept can be applied to any cuisne – so you can have Sattvic Italian food, Sattvic Malaysian food, as long as it’s vegetarian and served fresh. So with the promise of wholesome, bliss inducing foods – I set off to Sattvam on a balmy afternoon to reach one step closer to nirvana.
The restaurant is located on Sadashivnagar main road, in the same building that houses Godrej Natures Basket. The décor is elegant and fresh, keeping with their theme and their mascot – the Tulsi leaf. (The Tulsi plant is supposed to be very dear to the Lord Krishna). The glass façade of the restaurant lets in abundant light (joy to my camera) and overlooks the lovely old trees of the area.
The restaurant has a vast sattvic buffet, including eggless desserts that they churn out in house. The buffet is available throughout the week for lunch. I saw quite a crowd that came there to sample the wares. (The catchment area – Malleshwaram, has a high vegetarian/ Brahmin population). We however chose to move to the private dining area for a sampling of their signature dishes. (Ask the waiters or the owners for their a la carte menu).
We started with a really unique thirst quencher – a lemonade make with holy basil (tulsi) and saffron. This one I loved so much that I asked for an extra glass. It is almost the perfect answer to a hot balmy day in summer. (Beer would have been perfect – but they obviously don’t serve alcohol, keeping with the Sattvic theme). The orange juice with tamarind pulp was an interesting twist as well, but a little too tart for my liking.
The Broccoli shorba with apples was a welcome change from the regular tomato shorba. This one was also peppered with saffron and I was told that saffron and basil were almost like Sattvam’s signature – you will find it in many dishes here.
The starters arrived and I was pleasantly surprised to see the plating. Individual portions served with two dipping sauce and a lovely pouring jug of green chutney. Now I understood the contemporary vegetarian dining spiel. This would have been a regular paneer dish if not for the pomegranate marinade that gave it the zing.
The next two starters delivered the promise of inventive and unique food. I loved the stuffed paneer roll. The green pea mash that they served was almost looked like an Indian wasabi. The Gilafi was a combination of chargrilled babycorn and neembu ke patte (lime leaves). This took some getting used to as the flavor of lime leaf (tangy-bitter) was something that my palate had never tasted. Was it good? Definitely.
We were offered a sampling of the main courses. All with a Sattvam twist. We decided to have a Cheese Jalapeno Naan and a Saufiyani Kulcha. The latter being an instant hit – I just loved the crunch of the aniseed and the colour. The cheese jalepeno naan was also yummy and could have been eaten on it’s own. I can imagine kids taking an instant liking to it.
We were presented an aloo-gobi dish with a fancy name – l’anglaise. The l’anglasie being the fact that instead of our humble cauliflower they used a broccoli and instead of a tomato – a sun dried one took it’s place. A tangy combination that reminded me of a veggie bake. Dig in!
The Dal Makhni was your standard fare – made smokier because it was wood fired. The Aloe Vera and greens curry was something that I definitely recommend you try. The texture of the Aloe vera is close to a soft cucumber and because of the high water content in the plant it tastes very refreshing. The greens that came along with it were something that I have never tried before – so again a new experience on the palate.
The Paneer Butter Masala was amped up with dill leaves. If you love dill – this will be a welcome change to the regular PBM. They also served us their signature dish – the Amritas Ke Kofte. Cottage Cheese balls stuffed with Green peas in a Guava (yes, you heard me right), Pomegranate and Corainder Gravy. The hit of guava aroma as soon as they get the dish to the table is unmistakable! I commend the complexity of flavours in this dish. Brilliant!
I saved the best for last – the Chotte Samose ki Sabji! Mini samosas in a creamy besan and greens-gravy. I wanted to eat the whole bowl myself and was cursing the fact that my stomach was full! Loved Loved Loved. That’s all there is to say really!
I also tried (just one spoon) of the Beetel Leaf Biryani. I wanted to see if it would be gross that they had paan leaves in a biryani. (Morbid curiosity!) But it was a just a subtle flavor of shredded beetel leaves, in a rather plain vegetable biryani. Go for it, if you want to try something new.
They had an array of desserts but what caught our eye was the Malai Ghewars. Oh…my….God! When I go back to Sattvam (and I’ve already planned two outings with two different groups) – I will start with the ghewars and eat it till my heart says stop (with the amount of ghee in it – it could be cardiac arrest inducing :P). If you try anything there, try this – it’s one of the best ghewars I’ve had in a long time. (And I say this with confidence because I have had many Marwari neighbours who gave me ghewars from Rajasthan almost throughout the year for fifteen odd years!)
So plan an outing to Sadashivnagar – it’s not thaaat far! And go with an open mind and an empty stomach, because the food and experience will fill you up in many wonderful ways.
35, Sankey Road (opp. Shell Petrol pump),
Cost: Buffets – Rs.395/- (Mon-Fri) and Rs.495/- (Sat and Sun). Special a la carte Menu – Starters Rs. 150/- onwards, Mains Rs. 300/- onwards
Parking: Valet Available