Greenr gets a new spin!

I wonder at the resolve of those who turn vegetarian by choice. Even more if they do so after tasting the best meats, fishes, oysters, clams and prawns of the world. Then, what exactly prompts them to give all the goodies up? Is it really easy to stick to a tofu roll when you can smack your lips after wolfing down a juicy tuna burger? Or feel sated with a beetroot and caperberry salad when somewhere beside is working a fork through a grilled corn-fed chicken breast? Won’t you miss the rustic beef bolognaise as you slurp down a vegetarian khao suey? Will the succulent scallop or the lobster sushi roll not beckon you while you deal with an asparagus tempura?
Yesterday, a very good vegetarian meal at Greenr Café in Dhanmill Compound quelled the doubts. If the green options are as innovative and diverse, with a thought towards health as well, then who wouldn’t mind choosing that over animal protein (the source of which is perennially under the scanner these days).

Last May while the sun beat down upon us as we shopped for sustainable fashion in the maze of Shahpur Jat, my friend pointed out to this café on the top floor of Nimai, the nucleus of avant garde fashion jewellery in the city. Ravenous we trundled up to Greenr Café. I am always up for a good salad. Especially when a sapped brain can only process the images of greens and freshly squeezed fruit nectar. So, it didn’t bother me that Greenr was all vegetarian, serving modern Californian food. While my friend opted for a Tofu and Amaranth salad, I chose a Vegan sausage one. The portions were good and the dressings of both the salads were undoubtedly delish. After wiping our bowls clean, we realised that we were full enough to complete our retail spree. Yes, that was that.

But, the salad piqued my interest about the place and two days later I went back for a proper lunch. I wanted to find how exciting veggies can get. Especially because in this belt vegetarian meals in restaurants are singularly restricted to paneer, bhindi, dal makhana and aloo gobi. Pardon the fleeting remark, but yes, there’s not much to choose from. That’s why, I swear to take my Mister soon to Greenr. The husband who abhors North Indian vegetarian for its utter lack of imagination and variety. Yesterday, I trekked to the new outlet to sample their new menu. Stationed inside the Spin Studio (a contemporary design label that creates smart, minimalistic and chic furniture and home décor products following Scandinavian art modules), the café is understandably spacious and incorporates several green elements in the form of decorative plants. The menu, I realised, has been fattened to incorporate many more interesting dishes, high on taste as well as health.

Greenr Café is not just a café dishing out wholesome modern Californian vegetarian fare that the owners, Mohit Yadav and Nitin Dixit, decided to serve after sampling the cuisine during their sojourns to the West (the friends unwind with yoga, meditation, travel and good food). “We were taken aback by the sheer variety in vegetarian options in California. They were tasty and interesting, too. Nothing like what you get in India. Our experiences with food in the West hinged us towards designing this menu,” say the duo. Think fresh produce, exciting artisanal sauces, whole wheats, non-greasy but absolutely delicious food and Greenr would fit the bill. There are fantastic smoothies, fresh sorbets and concoctions, crunchy salads, tasty pita pockets, rolls, burgers and pizzas in a glorious vegetarian avatar. Desserts are sinful, too. The best part is the ingredients are organic, almost fat-free and hence after wolfing a large meal, you won’t walk out with guilt.

Greenr has its motto quite clear. “You are what you eat.” They are living that truth. So, without compromising on taste the kitchen (its open for you to witness how fresh your food is) the café, that doubles up as a co-working space with a happy vibe believes in a nutritious, delicious and sustainable diet that is not mass produced. In tandem with the motive, the spaces, now at Gurgaon and Vasant Vihar (the Shahpur Jat outlet has been wrapped up) also uses recycled material in its décor. The air is easy and infectious. No stiff noses and prim proper decorum here. You can be yourself. So, in the midst of some chirpy youngsters in their ripped jeans and Play Clan tees, I did not feel out of place in a Bengal handloom six yard. Yes, it accommodates all. Clearly the nucleus of holistic living that cherishes the human connection. The café, one of the biggest proponents of plant proteins, encourages you to be part of a larger movement that’s headed towards a more sustainable world. Natural goodness is appreciated. Hence, the use of produce, procured from farm clusters, that is organic and healthy.

However, all this would be tall talk if the food I ate didn’t bear testimony to it all.
The vegan sausage salad (mesclun greens, broccoli, snow peas, goat cheese, pine nuts, red pepper with orange tahini dressing) that I ate on the first day ensured that I did not miss meat. It was one of the best salads I have tasted so far in my life. And, which actually prompted me to go back. But then, it couldn’t supercede the sweet potato salad (a bestseller) I munched on during my next visit. Apart from the greens, broccoli and snow peas, it had a generous helping of chopped almonds, yellow pepper, goat cheese and chipotle dressing. What I loved about the salads is how they are a filling snack in themselves by the inclusion of the plant protein chunks via sausages or meatballs. The baked sweet potato was a different ball game altogether though. 
Yesterday, I ate one of the best sellers. The Baja Black Bean Nachos (made with Ragi Cornand topped with black beans, Haas Avocado Guacamole, Mexican Vegan Cheese, Mango Salsa, house Tomato Salsa and Cilantro). The nachos were airy, fluffy and the sourness of the dips were countered by the sweet mangoes. A perfect snack that I had with a delicious Acai Berry Smoothie (that contained plant milk).

A recurrent complaint that meat lovers have against vegetarian food is that veggies lack the chunky texture of meat. They are too insipid. I’d recommend the Jackfruit Pita Carnitas (with wholewheat pita pockets) to them. While I could do with a bit more salt in the Jackfruit curry, the dressing made up for this scrumptious dish. And yes, the meaty texture is bang on.
Because I had decided to try their pizza on my next visit, I called for the Athens Spinach and Pinenuts pizza. The wholewheat crust was light and crisp and though it resembled a roti actually, it didn’t carry the husky smell of wheat.
We tried the divine Valrhona Chocolate Mousse earlier. Luscious and decadent. But this time, it was the Greenr Tiramisu. It’s intriguing. A dessert that is famous for balancing sweetness as well as the bitterness of caffeine, is here delicately finished with coconut, ragi, oats, vegan vanilla mascarpone and different exciting ingredients. Go for it.
If you want to opt for a light accompaniment do try their signature Hibiscus sorbet (fresh hibiscus, ginger, jaggery and mint) or the hot selling Mocha Mucho (a smoothie made with homemade almond milk, banana, martin cold brew, dates, vanilla and valrhona chocolate). No artificial sweeteners are added so you won’t get that sachharine aftertaste.

P.S. Greenr is now open in Gurgaon, Vasant Vihar and Dhanmill Compound. Follow their social media handles to be updated because this place is a jewel. Meanwhile, I shall device plans to take the mister to have his first ever fabulous vegetarian meal in Delhi, soon!


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