Lean and clean

Published: Nov 19, 2019, 09:44 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani |

First look: Celebrity nutritionist Maya Pareira's wholesome cafe in Bandra makes clean eating a fun experience

Grilled chicken with hoisin sauce. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Grilled chicken with hoisin sauce. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Ever wondered what super-fit stars Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez eat? Here’s a chance to not just know, but also sample a wholesome meal like the stars do, at nutritionist Maya Pereira’s Bandra café, Lean Kitchen. It also helps that her husband, Prashant Sawant, trains Shah Rukh Khan and Dhawan, and he grins and tells us that he is always the first person who’s made to try any new dish prepared by Pereira, regardless of whether it’s good or not.

Pereira believes in making food as fun and colourful as possible to promote healthy eating. And back in 2017, she first started Lean Kitchen in a small section at their gym in Khar, providing custom-made meals designed to meet each individual’s specific needs. This service met with success and Pereira had several fitness buffs signing up for tailored meal plans, prepared after a consultation. The nutritionist, who has also worked with several other stars like Shraddha Kapoor and Sunny Leone, felt it was time to take the next big leap and launch a more accessible café. The concept of tailored meals worked well as most of her clients have busy schedules and were more than happy to not bother about what needs to be cooked every day. “The location is serendipitous since, coincidentally, Prashant started his career in the gym across the road and knows everyone over here,” she says.

Lean and cleanNon-veg sushi sandwich

Lean and cleanCottage cheese with soba noodles

She also knows that though one should always read labels and know more about their food, it can often be overwhelming. So to keep things simple, Pereira hasn’t designed the menu based on diet practices such as keto, or general sections such as appetisers and mains. Instead, she uses smart headers such as Power Boosting Meals, which are designed for pre-workout or recovery meal times. Or Keep It Light, which includes salads and light meals such as flaxseed wraps. One of the USPs of the menu will be an app that will provide the calorie count of each meal, plus the macro-nutrient count so you know if you are eating more carbs or protein. This is designed to also help you customise your meal (most dishes at the café can be). So if the carb level in your dish is higher than what you need, you can ask them to add or subtract an ingredient, unless something is a must in the dish.

Lean and clean

Lean and cleanMiso Kale Caesar salad

Pereira uses no butter or refined sugar either. And we love this, as our berry fresh smoothie (`325), made with different berries, coconut water and vanilla, tastes naturally sweet and refreshing, minus the white sugar. The quality of Pereira’s ingredients strikes us in all the dishes, like the miso kale salad (`610), made with purple corn, avocado, hemp seed, nori sheets, baby radish salad, tahini Caesar dressing and kale leaves. She is also a wiz with low-calorie sauces and dressings. Her hoisin sauce is Dhawan’s favourite, and Pereira offers lamb (`740), chicken (`520) and paneer with it (`430). “We serve a sweet potato mash with this and though red meat can be heavy, we make it healthier by only picking the leanest cuts,” she explains. Her mastery with sauces is on display again in Korean gochujang soba noodles, where buckwheat soba noodles are tossed in the spicy Korean sauce and served with mushrooms with a choice of tempeh (`810) or boneless chicken thighs (`910). Pereira has no bread on her menu so far, but serves another of Dhawan’s favourites, sushi sandwich (`390 for chicken and `355 for tempeh), for which she uses nori sheets to wrap brown rice.

Lean and cleanRaindrop cake

But the best addition to Lean Kitchen’s menu after the move is dessert. A must-try is the raindrop cake (`280) made with coconut water, honey, fresh coconut and soy crumbs, inspired by the viral cakes of Japan.

Lean and cleanMaya Pareira

Even as we chat with Pereira, we see several people walk in to enquire about the café, and with the guilt-free tantalising options that the place has on offer, we are sure that it will soon turn into Bandra’s next health food and paparazzi hotspot.

Opens on November 21
Time 8 am to 11 pm
AT New Silver Sand, Khar Pali Road, Bandra West.

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