Ayurveda and its food philosophy has always intrigued me. But somehow, even though Swad Shakti has been around for a while, I somehow missed experiencing it. But my recent visit, was well worth the wait. Tucked away in a quiet residential lane, off S.V. Road, Swadshakti, seems to be very popular and has a set clientele.
The place has a serene and positive vibe to it. Bustling with guests, it is always busy. A retreat for the health-conscious foodie, this place serves pure vegetarian food, based on Ayurveda’s detoxifying principle, Panchakarma. Chef Manoj Keni seems to know all his customers personally and prepares bespoke meals for them. The menu too is fairly exhaustive. It has interesting sections titled prarambh chaat, amantran, nimnatran and so on. We start with oorja, an energy booster made with dates. It is refreshing but filling too.
With my cold and cough, chef sends me a special coriander and ginger broth. Ah! My throat actually feels better after the first few sips.
The famous pav bhaji comes next sans any tomatoes. Chef Keni does not use tomatoes in his cooking at all as those are not supposed to be beneficial. Instead he makes extensive use of kokum, as a souring agent, which is cooling. It is delicious and pairs well with the whole wheat bread instead of the traditional ladi pav.
Rotis made of makki ka atta, rice flour and ragi are served piping hot with a palak preparation. They encourage people to eat more of ragi and jowar as compared to wheat. Palak or spinach has never tasted so good before. The food is cooked in pure cow’s ghee and is healthy, contrary to popular belief. Fermented foods are an absolute no-no as far as Chef Keni is concerned. He owes all his knowledge to Dr. Smita Naram, who runs the Ayushakti Health Care Centre there, and has trained him.
The menu offers sandwiches, juices, rice dishes, rotis, vegetables et al. One is almost spoilt for choice.
We round off our meal with hot moong dal khichdi, which is runny, soulful and gently spiced. It is flavourful and comforting. We almost feel healthier, as we devour our meal, without feeling over stuffed or uncomfortable. There is a lot more we’d like to try and shall save that four our next visit. Maybe after all the rich food and sweets after Diwali, it is time to pay Swad shakti a visit. What say?