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12.06.2018

Our propensity to demolish entire bags of hot chips in bed for lunch is one of our most attractive qualities (gentlemen, form an orderly queue), but our gym rat sibling’s virtuous eating has been weighing heavy on our hearts. We tried dismissing it as acid reflux, but then scrolled past a tweet about how it’s “nearly six months into the year! How are your healthy living resolutions doing?!” And that’s how we ended up for a working lunch at Nuts Over Salad’s new café in Koramangala.

Nuts Over Salad, whose delivery service has been around for a couple of years, will be familiar to most white-collar types in Bangalore. Chuffed by the efficiency of subscription service meals delivered straight to your desk, it became a staple for that one inspiringly fit colleague on your team that you loathe-loved. The café is the storefront avatar of this office favourite, which comes with an expanded menu.

Encased in green glass and a no-nonsense coat of white paint, it is immediately apparent that this cafe isn’t going to serving up a Fried Mars Bar any time soon. Our friendly server offers us the option of al fresco seating by the tallest wall planter we’ve ever seen, but we resist the temptation of jungle exploration for the cooler interiors of the cafe. It’s tiny, but charming - a hodge-podge of copper lighting fixtures, gleaming wooden tables, and a stone grey wall crisscrossed with what looks like (fake?) grass.

A vast menu - much bigger than in this cafe’s salad days - appears. Our eye is immediately drawn to rasam golgappas, patently absurd and irresistible to us. Violently pink and green golgappas appear, alongside a bowl of minced chicken flecked with curry leaves. A sweet tamarind chutney gleams enticingly.

Popping the first golgappa into our wary mouths reveals a delicious surprise. The chicken mince is moist and spiced perfectly to offset the sweet chutney, and the rasam is fiery and tangy enough to make you click your tongue in satisfaction. This is marvellous fare. And we get healthy eating points to boot? We turn back to the menu in haste.

Ruby red pomegranate and blueberry juice, accompanied by a sunny pineapple, lemon, coconut water, and mint mix, whet the palate. These cold-pressed beauties are what we need to unwilt us from the afternoon sun. Refreshed, we dive into our salad next, crunching into a beautiful bowl of apples and roasted brussel sprouts (just a bit under-charred) with a dusting of feta crumbles to top it off. Cherry tomatoes stud this veggie mountain; walnuts and peanuts make an appearance on the descent; the odd date pops in to say hello. It isn’t the most pleasing on the eye, but we could give up a few carbs for this.

Then again, it isn’t necessary. A smoky mediterranean chicken sandwich appears, along with our gains-guzzling companion’s coffee chicken steak. The portion sizes are hefty, to say the least: we mentally parcel half for home. The sandwich is as drippy as they come, but instead of the expected oily sauce coating the roof of the mouth, the freshness of the eggplant hummus plays enjoyably against herbed chicken. The coffee chicken steak is even better - its coffee BBQ sauce is pleasingly viscous, delivering an enormous hit of sweet and savoury flavour with every bite.

Pleased with ourselves, we decide a treat in the form of a homemade ice-cream sundae is in order. Two scoops of sunset golden mango ice-cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, are nestled in a banana bread crumb. A mere first taste is perturbing. The ice-cream is delightful, airily tasting of actual mangoes, but the accompaniments hit all the wrong notes. It’s a good reminder of why we came here in the first place: not for the good stuff, but good-for-you stuff.

Getting There: 52, Shop 1, Nirmala Mansion, 4th Cross, 17th A Main, 60 Feet Road in Koramangala 5th Block.

Accessibility: The cafe is at pavement level and only necessitates a small step over the threshold to enter.

Sushmita Sundaram writes about funny people, odd things, and anything edible. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.

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