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This sultry season, if the idea of a tall glass filled to the brim with some thick, creamy lassi has you drooling your body’s entire water content out; skip crawling to the neighbourhood dairy shop for those hackneyed ‘sweet’ and ‘salty’ varieties. Instead, try these beautiful alternatives dripping with a multitude of unique flavours to beat the summer heat.
Lassi, usually a simple blend of yogurt, water, and spices such as cumin is traditionally a savoury drink, although the one whisked with sugar is a lot more popular. Of late, chilled lassi flavoured with fresh mangoes has been doing the rounds as a popular summer refreshment.
Dario’s in Koregaon Park, however, does its own fruity take. The Italian fine-dine restaurant may sound like an unusual destination for this desi cooler, but they whip up a beautiful banana lassi with an almost velvety texture, redolent with mellow flavours lent by thin chunks of banana, which go surprisingly well with their lasagnas and raviolis – an eclectic meal to die for. Or then, head to April Rain in Aundh, where you get a silky-smooth strawberry lassi which leaves that divinely ripe, tart, juicy aftertaste on the palate.
At German Bakery Wunderbar on Law College Road, you can wash down a lovely meal of Moroccan shish taouk or kheema pao with one of their frothy, creatively flavoured lassis – be it the kiwi-ginger, litchee, or chikoo one. My pick, however, would be the spiced version laced with liberal sprinkles of cinnamon, along with tiny lumps of apple. The subtle tang of yogurt and the sweet-sour undertones make it a highly refreshing concoction.
PapaJees in Aundh is a cutesy Punjabi haunt run by a charming Sikh family. The owner here rustles a stunningly rich peda lassi that comes laden with crumbled malai peda and is topped with crushed dry fruits – decadence in a glass! Think bits of mithai melting in your mouth in a magical texture play as you slurp the dense, milky goodness. It is highly filling, and doubles as the perfect dessert, to soothe the taste buds post some spicy mutton labalab indulgence.
Finally, for health freaks, Urbounce Café in Baner does an ingenious ‘oats lassi’ – a nourishing drink made with lightly roasted and powdered oats that boosts up your energy levels instead of making you want to snooze after a heavy meal.