Mumbai has different pockets and neighbourhoods that attract different folks. The BKC area attracts a lot of the corporate crowd, South Mumbai has its slightly fancy folk and Bandra, everyone’s favourite neighbourhood, attracts its fare share of hipsters and health freaks. The trend this year – with the newer cafés cropping up or even the existing ones making changes to their menu – is a giant, much needed leap towards healthier food choices. It is not about fad diets or just super foods, but a not-so-subtle attempt to try and imbibe an overall healthier approach to eating and eating out specifically.
With a handful of restaurants trying to spearhead this healthy eating movement, the newest one to join the bandwagon is a small but charming café in Bandra called Sequal. This hip new restaurant is not only inviting with its free Wi-Fi and simple wooden décor, but offers a 100% gluten-free menu. They must be incredibly proud of that, because even their Wi-Fi password is ‘gluten free’. When restaurants offer healthy menus, most of the time, they just include a couple of dishes on the menu – this is not the case here. There is a strict no sugar and no flour policy in their kitchen and, instead, they try to incorporate other grains such as buckwheat, flaxseeds, amaranth, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and so on. The owner, Vatika Chowdhery, has given up her corporate job to focus on her dream of opening up a café that offers wholesome food with fresh, high0quality ingredients and it seems that she has been successful in that endeavor.
The menu includes breakfast, soups, salads, mains and desserts, along with cold-pressed juices, smoothies, teas and coffees and even some snacks such as hummus of the ever-popular kale chips. Dishes such as their big heist are a great example of their version of healthier options to popular dishes. In this instance, it was their take on an eggs benedict with an organic, oat flour, buckwheat gluten-free bread and roasted vegetables topped with organic yogurt, rosemary, apple cider vinegar and mustard (the organic version of a hollandaise).
While the food is healthy, that does not always translate into diet food, so if you are off carbs or on a high protein diet, then order accordingly. In addition, if you are not used to a lot of sugar-free items, then it will taste slightly different (specially from what you are use to eating) – that is to be expected. Sadly, the portions are on the smaller side and it is not exactly pocket-friendly. It is a price you pay for quality ingredients but, sadly, not necessarily enough quantity.
Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.