On a damp morning, it doesn't take us more than five minutes to warm up to Farmers' Cafe. Walnut-hued wooden walls glow under light bulbs fitted on wheel spokes in the al fresco section. Inside, we chuckle over bread puns ('Knead love? We got you') scribbled on a wall and spot a painting that uses jute as canvas.
The latest entrant on Bandra's health food scene, it's the brainchild of fashion designer-cum-chef Minali Gaba, who has been offering granola bars (we swear by her Chocolate Almond and Sea Salt) and other healthy eats for two years under her home-run venture, The Nuttyway. You'll find them stocked at Bombay Salad Co. Coincidentally, the tiny café is housed in the same space that was home to the salad joint before it shifted to a larger space nearby.
Non-Vegetarian Farmers' Meal
Tango over tartines
From all-day breakfast options like granola bowls to panini, burger, meals, pasta, risotto and pizza — the menu is extensive, with most dishes carrying vegan and gluten-free tags, using ingredients like nut milk, amaranth flour and cheese made with skimmed milk. “Our breads, vegan butters and sauces are made in-house, while we source the cheese from a vendor. The vegetables are sourced from a farmer in Nashik,” shares Gaba.
Breakfast Tartines. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
We begin with Breakfast Tartines (Rs 220), where three slices of crisp, multi-grain bread are smeared with different toppings — home-made salted caramel with banana slices and flaxseeds, feta nut butter sprinkled with granola, and beetroot hummus laced with avocado and microgreens. The highlight is the creamy hummus that complements the fleshy avocado. We wash it down with Oats And Salted Caramel Smoothie (Rs 240), which is a tad saltier than we'd hoped.
The blush-hued vegan hummus also stars in Falafel Panini (Rs 330), a tastier rendition of the Lebanese dish, where grilled-till-crisp bread is stuffed with chickpea mash (instead of deep-fried balls), bell peppers and cabbage. Next, we try Farmer's Pancake (Rs 110), a whole-wheat version laced with onion and cumin that reminds us of thalipeeth, not that we're complaining. We have it with vegan cilantro mayonnaise.
The stars of the menu are the pizzas. The Skinny Pizza (Rs 540) heaves with mushroom, kale, broccoli, baby spinach and iceberg lettuce on a multigrain base slathered with homemade almond milk and tomato sauce. Its delicious tang balances the tart, sweet and toasty mushroom flavours, with the topping of skim mozzarella, a lighter version of the stringy, sometimes even chewy cheese.
We're also impressed with the skimmed feta on Pumpkin Spinach Feta Pizza (Rs 410), which goes well with the mild, al dente pumpkin slices. The desi-style Kheema Pizza (Rs 610) wins us over with its gluten-free amaranth base. The Non-Vegetarian Farmers' Meal (Rs 370) with grilled chicken chunks, brown rice, roasted vegetables and homemade sweet and tangy vegan curry makes for a satiating finale.
Other healthy hangouts
> Tuck into salad bowls packed with choriz and cranberries. AT Bombay Salad Co., 16th Road.
> Dig into sourdough sandwiches and bulgur-wheat laced small pots. AT Kitchen Garden by Suzette, Pali Hill.
> Indulge in an Ayurvedic brekkie. AT The Yoga House, Carter Road.
> Binge on cous cous upma and vegan lasagna with a milkshake. AT Birdsong — The Organic Cafe, Chapel Road.
OPENS: on August 10, 9 am to 11 pm
AT: Shop No 2, Rita Apartments, 16th Road, Bandra West.
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