The Zen Garden Café in Bandra aims to nourish body and mind through meals based on Ayurvedic principles, and closes the divide between healthy and delicious
Ek Onkar and the rest of the Mool Mantra, played out to serene-yet-funky tunes, as we entered the first floor of the Yogacara Healing Arts Centre. Eucalyptus wafted through the air as we walked, barefeet, (footwear must be left outside) through a corridor. At the end of the passage is the open-air cafe — The Zen Garden Cafe.
Tall bamboo shoots encased the area, dotted with plants. Amidst this tiny garden we spotted wooden benches, concrete slabs with cusions, and tables with sunny covers. As much as we crave the outdoors, the humidity had us wilting in no time. (Tip: Opt for dinner).
The Ayurvedic Yogic Thali was a winner. Pics/ Emmanual Karbhari
Calm the senses
The menu was extensive — an 11-pager, bound-booklet. It took us through Ayurvedic concepts where we learned that “a suitable diet, yoga and meditation are the most powerful tools the ancient Ayurvedic physicians prescribed for balancing the mind and body”. We started with Tibetan Momos (Rs 300), which had seven generous pieces filled with succulent chicken, lavish on spices, a side of salad and Chef’s special sauce. It made for a zingy starter.
The space offers a natural, calming ambiance
This was washed down with a Detox Smoothie (Rs 250). A bit wary of the thick green drink served in a Budweiser beer-mug, we were surprised that the flavours of orange, pineapple, banana and other fruits came together beautifully; a meal in itself. The Body Purifier, a super smoothie (Rs 200) was a blood-red drink with flavours of beetroot, carrot, cucumber and ginger, making it not-so-easy on the palate.
The Blood Purifier has beetroot, carrot, cucumber and ginger
It’s all good
Moving to the wraps and pita section, we ordered the Zen Garden Special (Rs 300), a whole-wheat pita-pocket stuffed with roasted chicken, caramelised onions, peppers, a dollop of hummus and a side of salad. Once again it surprised us, considering the food tasted good, but was health too.
The Ayurvedic Yogic Thali (Rs 450) was the winner. A copper thali with crunchy kachumber and sprouts salad, tridoshic vegetables (sautéed greens), tridoshic dal (moong dal), mustard and lemon rice, tomato roti (menu features spinach roti), chaas, and a pure-ghee basan ladoo. The meal offered variety, the portions were just right, the rice arrived topped with ghee, the ladoo added a touch of sweet, and yet it came without guilt.
On the chef’s recommendation, we opted for Ginger and Garlic Greens (Rs 200), and the Coconut and Lemon Rice (Rs 150), as a combination that aids digestion. Tasty as individual dishes, the combination sans gravy didn’t make for an easy-to-eat meal.
At: Yogacara Healing Arts Centre, Shoeb Manzil, first floor, off Perry Cross Road, Bandra (W).
The Zen Garden Cafe didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals