Bandra’s much-loved Yoga House hasn’t left the suburb, but it has found itself a new home in another equally quaint and quiet lane. Moeena Halim checks out the additions to the café’s menu and the studio’s new juice bar with its whacky, but healthy concoctions
I can drive you around any place in Mumbai, but Bandra’s bylanes never fail to confuse me,” confesses the rickshaw driver on our way to the new Yoga House, which has moved from Chimbai to another charming little Bandra village — Shirley Rajan. True, those unfamiliar with Bandra might find it a bit daunting to get to this new outpost. But the quaint three-storied sea green bungalow, earlier home to Waters Spa and Salon, will charm you at first glance.
While the new studio has been hosting yoga classes since January 16, the café will open by January 27. (Above) A yoga class at the old venue
While the new studio has been hosting yoga classes since January 16, the café has been on a bit of a sabbatical. It is still under construction when we visit. Climbing up to the third floor of the café, it looks like a promisingly cosy nook to grab a perfectly healthy snack. “It should be up and running by January 27,” promises Ajitsingh Tapaswi, who set up the Yoga House along with Maud Chuffart a few years ago.
“We are not eliminating anything from our menu here, but we are making it a point to add some interesting dishes,” says Tapaswi. The café will introduce Indian staples such as poha, onion uthappa, and upma for breakfast. “Our menu has been the same for the past two to three years, so it’s time to bring in some more options. I am also keen on adding more salads, especially those that make use of seasonal fruits,” says Tapaswi. “One thing you’re sure to see at the new place is a lot more colour — more greens, yellows and blues,” he adds, referring to the crockery and the décor, which was largely a calming white at the Chimbai café.
Juice up at the bar
One storey down is the Yoga House’s new juice bar. “We wanted to set up a dedicated space just to serve juices so that we could make it more convenient for people who wanted to grab a drink,” offers Tapaswi, who enjoys concocting healthy juice mixes in his head. “I come up with most of the recipes. For instance, I added honey and some spices to the kada chai my mom used to make as medicine. It is a delicious drink and perfect for this season. I’m a vegetarian and so I tend to eat a lot of green veggies and fruits. When a recipe for a juice comes to me, I just whip it up and taste it. If I like it, I study the ingredients and check the proportion of each thing to see how potent it is, and whether it could find a place on our menu,” he adds.
Apart from serving simple fruit juices, the juice bar will also have a bunch of wacky combinations such as the celery, cabbage and cucumber juice. “The taste may be slightly bland, and for that I add a hint of lime, but it is also extremely green and rich in fibre,” explains Tapaswi. If you’d like to make a few of your own experiments, you can always concoct a mix of your own.
Bangalore’s Yoga House, which is a much larger space, serves as a platform for indigenous musicians, helping them revive organic Indian music. Unfortunately, Bandra’s space is too small for this kind of thing. “Which is why I’m planning to set up a slightly bigger space in Juhu,” reveals Tapaswi.
By the end of February, the beachfront at Juhu is likely to get a new organic food place, with a café and yoga studio. But the highlight will be its emphasis on music. “This beachside café will also serve as a kind of organic music school,” he discloses.
At: Nargis Villa/Water Bungalow, Shirley Rajan Road, Near Rizvi College, opposite ICICI Bank, Bandra West