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The day I decided to ditch carbs was also the day when I realised that eating out was going to become the most difficult thing. Almost everything that we order comes with a carb-rich accompaniment – pick almost any cuisine and they are right there. So one has simply got to learn about the good carbs, and the bad ones. And then there are the ones that are hidden.
The three things I got rid of, without thinking twice, were rice, wheat (and related products) and sugar, and dairy products such as milk, processed cheese, and butter.
That is when I began my hunt for carb free meals, and even found some good places to run to every now and then. So here is my list of favourite guilt-free foods at some of my favourite, and even not-so-favourite, places:
Red Fork – The mixed leaves with pear, blue cheese, brioche croutons, and fig vinaigrette – it is the delicious combination of the sweetness of the pear, and the bite from the cheese that makes the salad greens taste brilliant. I avoid the croutons, and the vinaigrette is not too much either. It is a great meal that you can perhaps pair with any one of their omelettes.
Phobidden Fruit – If you are lucky enough to find crabs on the menu, their soft shell crab tossed in tamarind sauce is worth checking out, if you don’t mind a little mess. Pair that with a good soup and you won’t really need any carbs to go with it.
Graze at Vivanta by Taj – The steamed guava served with a zesty yoghurt dressing from the salad section, along with a minestrone soup, and finally the lovely John Dory from the seafood section is a complete meal. And it won’t leave you feeling stuffed. The fish does come with a Bordelaise sauce, which has butter in it, but it is not too much to stress over.
Connie’s Restaurant and Steakhouse – For a high protein meal, a good steak is a lovely solution. An old fashioned New York steak with vegetables on the side (without the mashed potatoes), a grilled fish, and even pork chops are some of the recommended ones.
Subway – This sub and salad chain is very popular in the city. And you can take almost any of their sub fillings and get them to make you a salad with it instead. And choose one of their lighter dressings; avoid the sweet onion or the thousand island or even the ranch dressing. So you might not fancy fast food chains, I surely don’t, but this one is good for emergencies.
Hwealth Café – A high protein smoothie, the eggs and green breakfast, the citrus green salad, or any of their meal platters are only a few of the dishes to try here. And what’s really cool about this place is that each dish has its nutrition count mentioned at the end.
100Ft Boutique Restaurant – Their breakfast menu has quite a bit of healthy food on it – cereal with skimmed milk, eggs to order, fresh fruits etc. The also make smoothies with pro-biotic yoghurt. And from their main menu the chicken soup, the smoked chicken salad, and the vegetable tagine (which comes with couscous) is one of my favourite combinations. Okay maybe I sneaked in a little bit of carb over there!
Empire – This go-to place for practically every pub-crawler in the city might not be the healthiest way to end a night, and while I wouldn’t normally eat anything here, the grilled chicken here is more than just palatable. The spice mix is right, and you literally don’t need anything else to go with it.
Café Cassia – I didn’t think I would find something here to come back to every now and then. But I did. One, they do sugar free desserts, which is always, always, good news. And two, the sprouted lentil salad, an omelette with a choice of fillings, and a bowl of freshly cut fruits is good enough to keep me going for hours. They even make a good banana bran smoothie if you need a quick recharge.
The Black Rabbit – While people go here to mostly drink, The Black Rabbit is not averse to the idea of serving you a carb free meal. And their salads are a good way to start. One of my favourites is the Grouper Salad that had a nice citrusy flavour to it, thanks to the orange segments in it. The Grilled Lamb Chops is good too, as long as you push the potatoes aside. And that is a full meal!
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.