New Hill Road eatery offers healthy salads and paninis

Don’t let anybody tell you salads are boring. If they do — haul them to Just Unjunk, a new establishment at Hill Road whose healthy salads and paninis are some of the best we’ve had

From popular, if not personal wisdom, we know this — often, a week or two into your fervent resolution of eating healthy, temptation raises its devious head and before you know it — unhealthy snacking resumes, and chunks of cheese and butter make their way into your food portions. Before you know it — eating healthy is the exception, not the rule.

Vegetarian Panini

However, if Just Unjunk’s salads and paninis were available beyond Bandra, Khar and Santacruz, we think most of us would have it easier.

We don’t know this yet when we drop by at Hill Road’s Nature’s Basket, where Just Unjunk has set up its kiosk. We begin with the Hawaiian Pasta with Basil Pesto (Rs 185) and the Mexican Salad with Tomato Salsa (Rs 185).

The Yogurt Mayonnaise Salad and The Vegetarian Panini, Basil Pesto with Bell Peppers.
The Yogurt Mayonnaise Salad and The Vegetarian Panini, Basil Pesto with Bell Peppers. Pics/Shadab Khan

Basil, to us, makes the world — and salads — a better place, and the salad only reassures. The Hawaiian salad has mixed lettuce, capsicum and sweet corn so fresh that the mostly-invisible health junkie in us sniffs air hopefully. There’s pineapple too — just enough — to complement the other flavours in the salad. Did we mention that the salads are a theatre of colours? What you see is just as good as what you taste, and how often can you boast that about salads?

The Mutton Tandoori Seekh in Tahini
The Mutton Tandoori Seekh in Tahini

The latter is Mexico on a plate — one bite of the kidney beans tossed with peppers, pineapple, salsa and tomato vinaigrette is as good as eating a portion of a cheesy, tangy Mexican dish at a restaurant, without the calories, of course. The Yogurt Mayonnaise Salad (Rs 185) is slightly on the sweeter side because of its sweet yogurt mayo sauce and we were never fond of sweeter salads — but we stand converted.

The ripe corn, the sprouts, the carrot and the pineapple (no, we haven’t tired of it) is a lighter, much better version of that salad you toss up at home to take to work. The Harrissa Cottage Cheese Labneh ('200) is a meal in itself with its green cabbage leaves, onions, capsicum neatly making the harissa spiced paneer chunks the star of the salad. We also like how the fruit in this salad (pomegranate this time) lends a sweet finishing touch to the tang and the spice.

The Barbeque Chicken and Mushroom Salad (Rs 210) tastes like a deconstructed chicken shawarma, with succulent chicken slivers and crunchy veggies. We cannot taste the mushrooms, but love the touch of strawberries in this salad. The Mutton Tandoori Seekh in Tahini (Rs 210) has a smoky flavour and with its green chutney dressing, is a filling meal and a far cry from the usual bland, boring salads.

The non-veg panini, Char Grilled Chiken Tikka in Green Chutney Mayo (Rs 225), is generously plied with chicken pieces and slathered with green chutney, sandwiched in a multi-grain bread. The chutney is spicy but welcome, and the bread’s nutty flavour, thanks to the flax seeds, is refreshing. If you want to opt for a veg panini, we’d recommend the Basil Pesto with Bell Peppers (Rs 205) — fresh basil in garlic pesto lends this panini the juicy goodness.

We are told the dressings are 60 percent yogurt and 40 per cent mayo, which is a much better option than going all-out fat during a meal. And with salads so fresh, we find little to complain about at Just Unjunk.

Just Unjunk
At: Godrej Nature’s Basket, Plot 29, Near Bank of India, 56 Hill Road, Bandra West
Call: 26421122/9619323334

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