The Well-Dressed Greens does disguise well. It is an undercover salad bar dressed up as a café. It’s in deep cover in enemy territory: it shares seating space with a cafe called Ecstasy Bakes, which specialises in sugary treats. All told, the perfect set-up for a Graham Greens novel.
Turn the Beet Up
This new little corner of Koramangala, with outdoor seating and whitewashed walls, is pleasant and welcoming, just like the opening sentences of the PG Wodehouse novels that sit on its bookshelf, joined by Isabel Allende and, er, Dan Brown. It is also worth pointing out that the menu comprises of the first few pages of a 2016 issue of Outlook Traveller, which works nicely, should a case of ‘anywhere but here’ strike as you look through the offerings. One minute you are reading the smoothie list of the newest salad bar in Koramangala; the next, discovering the joys of zip lining across the Niagara Falls. It’s all very Travels With My Aunt so far.
If you haven’t had your fill of pumpkin this winter, we suggest you spring for the pumpkin pie smoothie before February arrives like a slow smile on the city’s face. With nut milk, banana, yogurt, honey and pumpkin puree, this dream of Christmases past is mild and floral, going down easy. It makes it all the more puzzling that our safety option, the Coffee Breakfast Smoothie, proves a thoroughly unwise decision. Powdery, chalky and altogether unpleasant, it is made worse by the owner insisting that this is exactly what it’s meant to taste like. On a bad day this could induce Kale...er, Hale-in-Brighton-Rock levels of paranoia.
Malabar Broccoli Salad, with peas, beans, mustard seeds and softened onions, dusted with shredded coconut reminds us of a Kerala thoran - not altogether unpleasant, but unexpected at a hipster salad joint. Caramelised Pineapple Salad, with a spicy peanut dressing served in what can only be described as an Iodex bottle, steps up to be the disappointment of the meal. The dressing is too heavy on ginger, and the pineapple, cucumber and carrots, arranged neatly in rows like obedient school children, don’t really go together. A small mound of diced raw onions sit at the edge of the plate, like new kids who haven’t made friends in class yet.
If alliteration is the spice of your life - as it is, from time to time, ours - the Squash Salad, which comes on a bed of kodo millet, is surprisingly good. The millet is buttery and plump, and pairs nicely with raisins, feta and squash. Even the pomegranate, a cover for something sinister in most cases, works nicely here. A word to the wise: spring onions, used with a liberal hand, and cut into half-inch pieces, need to be moved to the side, if you don’t want to have onion breath for the rest of the day. Alas, balsamic date dressing fails to deliver the zing that would truly elevate it - but as the presiding spirit of this review might have remarked, it’s a good world, as long as you don’t weaken (and end up at Ecstasy Bakes).
Getting there: 616, 80 Feet Peripheral Road, 6th Block, Koramangala; Call 07349595965. A meal for two costs about Rs. 800.
This review was contributed by Aysha Tanya, co-founder of The Goya Journal.
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