A vegetarian paradise

Sep 05, 2011, 09:28 IST | Anshu Awasthi

When Goan food can go vegetarian while still tasting authentic, it means vegetarians have a reason to rejoice. Come here to bite into cuisines of different states of India

When Goan food can go vegetarian while still tasting authentic, it means vegetarians have a reason to rejoice. Come here to bite into cuisines of different states of India

I found myself in a state of dilemma when my friends from Hungary, who were visiting India, expressed their wish to try something 'different' and delectable for dinner. I took a gamble and decided to take them to Sattvik � a vegetarian fine dining restaurant (and the only one at that) at Select Citywalk in Saket. But will these meat lovers like an all pulses and vegetable fare? Will their quest to try something 'different' become too adventurous or bland? Putting these things at stake, I entered the dimly lit hall of the restaurant.

Earthy surrounding, soothing chant in the background and a yellow light casting Sanskrit shlokas on a on what looked like a thatched wall set our mood. My friends were bemused by the inscriptions as I explained their meanings dropping subtle hints in between on how exciting can vegetarian food be. Afterall, I wanted my guests to be excited about their first experience of sattvik bhojan. However, I didn't have to try hard once the food came.

We started our meal with flourless cheesecake. I've failed to find this delicacy at other gourmet restaurants and is a must try. The golden brown crisp cake is infused with curd cured with roasted peppercorns, red chilli flakes, jeera and served with tangy cucumber chutney. It washes down well with Sutra, a gingerale pepped with mint and caster sugar. My friends went for chilled a beetle leaf flavoured drink Mantra as they ordered another platter of assorted veg kebabs.

As a trend, Sattvik comes up with cuisines belonging to different states of India every month. They were serving Goan cuisine this time. "A vegetarian Goan cuisine? Are you serious?" I asked Nandan Goswami, the manager of the restaurant. Earlier I had an opportunity to taste a veg Hyderabadi fare at this place and it had scored well on my card, but a veg Goan cuisine was hard to imagine. "The Portuguese ate vegetables too! Give it a try and let me know," smiled Nandan.

No seafood, still Goan
Thus came the vegetable Xacutti, Vindhalo, Okra caldin, Cabbage foogath and Paneer balchow. I relished the tangy Vindhalo with different assortment of breads and pineapple raita. I saw my Hungarian friends happily nodding as they consumed meaty portions of Paneer Balchow, cooked with just the right spices to suit both Indian and alien tongue and simmered in coconut oil for the right time to give it a Goan flavour but at the same time not making it overtly Konkan. Our Xacutti, though devoid of chicken or lamb pieces, tasted floury and
buttery because of thick gravy in rooted vegetables and we savoured it with Tomato pillaf.

We finished our meal with Paan kulfi and the classic coconut based dessert Bebinca. As we came out, I exchanged a concordant look with the manager. My Hungarian friends were still going gaga over the purity, quality and simplicity of food they just had. An adventurous journey for both vegetarians and non-vegs, this place keeps coming up with regional cuisines, tweaked innovatively, to keep the gluttony going. Gujarati food festival begins this month, and I've already booked my seat.

At: Sattvik, 2nd floor, select citywalk, SAKET
Timings: 11 am to 4 pm (lunch); 7 pm to 11.30 pm (dinner)
Ring: 40599913
Meal for two: Rs 1,500 + taxes

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