Going Green at Greenr Cafe
|Handcrafted chic curtains and recycled furniture lend a warm and aesthetic vibe at Greenr. Pic by Rishabh Mallik|
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 with the juiciest tuna burger? Or feel sated with a beetroot and caperberry salad when somewhere close by you can hear a fork work its way 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 the asparagus tempura?
Last week, a very good vegetarian meal 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).
|The Vegan Sausage salad that prompted me to go back|
While the cruel May 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.
|Nitin Dixit at Greenr. Pic by Nandini Bansal.|
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 makhani 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.
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.
|Mohit Yadav at Greenr. Pic by Nandini Bansal|
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 and hence after wolfing down a salad, pita pockets, rolls and a dessert, I started feeling peckish a few hours later.
|The Sweet Potato Salad is one of the bestsellers|
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 space 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 Jackfruit Carnitas is as meaty as meaty can get. Pic by Rishabh Mallik|
On the first day my vegan sausage salad (mesclun greens, broccoli, snow peas, goat cheese, pine nuts, red pepper with orange tahini dressing) 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.
|The Scrambled Tofu roll uses whole wheat wraps and is filling. Pic by Rishabh Mallik|
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.
|Mucho Mocha Smoothie. Pic by Rishabh Mallik|
Because I like my paneer, I wanted to try the Scrambled Tofu roll. It was pretty filling and wholesome. Absolutely full, I made a mental note to try a burger and pizza on my next visit (yes, I’m going back!). We called it a day with the divine Valrhona Chocolate Mousse. Luscious and decadent. 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.
|The HIbiscus Sorbet is fresh and energising.|
P.S. Both Greenr and Nimai (sister companies) are shifting to a better location in Vasant Vihar. You should follow their social media handles to be updated because this place is a jewel for those who crave healthy, artisanal, vegetarian food. Meanwhile, I shall device plans to take the mister to have his first ever fabulous green meal in Delhi, soon!
|Sweet Ending with a Valrhona Chocolate Mousse. Pic by Nandini Bansal|