Ride the wave of healthy eating at Flax Cafe in Mumbai, an open-style cafe that dishes out delicious meals without any added calorie guilt. By Ismat Tahseen
You may not associate an afternoon of shopping and indulgence at a mall with a healthy meal. But Flax Cafe breaks that belief. When at this eatery in Jio World, turn over a new leaf as you relish filling and flavoursome salads and super bowls.
Latest trends tends to show more of what not to eat than what to eat. Instagram throws up diet charts, nutritionists are turning down everything you thought was okay to have, and your gym trainer has probably dissed all your eating habits. Taking note of this, this newly-opened spot by Gurmeet Arora dishes out everything that works, making for a pleasant change for lunch and dinner.
While the brand has built a name through cloud kitchens, this is the first dine-in experience for Flax Cafe. The ambience blends in with the food concept here. Picture large, wide windows bathed in sunlight and an open, easy-going vibe to match the fresh fare. Go through the long menu of vegetarian, vegan, non-vegetarian and gluten-free salads and super bowls or ask the friendly staff to assist. Then head over to the adjoining dining area, find a place and settle down to tuck into your meal as Flax Cafe is part of the Nine-Dine multi-cuisine café court at Jio World.
There are a bunch of names that shine in the menu — from the Falafel Bowl to the Mexican Bowl. But the rains trickling down compel me to choose a vegetarian Edamame bowl from the Monsoon menu. Out comes a pretty assembly of rainbow hues in a bowl—edamame and carrot, with red cabbage, baked paneer and almonds garnished with scallions and mint. Dried cranberries and pear lend a hint of sweetness to the assemblage. Everything is placed atop steamed quinoa. The winner here is the Korean sesame dressing that you need to pour over the bowl liberally, allowing it to make its way down to the last layer before you dig your spoon in. Nutrient check? Yes! Kudos to the many textures at play — from the crunchiness of the nuts to the soft cottage cheese and moist, peppery dressing.
Non-vegetarians can go in for the Chicken Burrito Bowl. The well-arranged bowl presents the usual suspects — smooth guacamole, tomato salsa, lettuce, corn and onion with soft brown rice and quinoa hidden under a mound of refried beans. The creamy, slightly sour Chipotle-yoghurt dressing is served alongside. The bowl is sprinkled with flax, like most dishes are (an ode to the cafe’s name). The flavours are fresh and pleasant. The familiar twang and sharpness of salsa is given a miss in this burrito bowl. “Nothing is meant to be too sour or sweet. Sugar is a complete no-no anywhere,” informs the chef. He can also tell you how many grams of protein you’re about to consume!
If your palate veers globally, choose the Shawarma Bowl composed of ras el-hanout, tahini, hummus and more. If Far Eastern flavours beckon, try the Thai bowls with mixed veggies or meat and Thai peanut dressing. The Glow Bowl would please weight watchers with the right assortment—avocado, carrot, quinoa, feta, cranberry, chia and flax seeds, mix greens drizzled with a tangy turmeric-mustard dressing.
The guilty pleasures here are just as healthy. I round the meal with a chilled chocolate-orange parfait prepared with in-house granola and Greek yoghurt. A must-try is the sugar-free, flourless almond cake. You can grab a coffee and smoothie to accompany.
If you’ve been harbouring the notion that a heathy meal is either under-pleasing to the palate or too light, get set to change that view. Flax Cafe will have you return to try more of the menu. In a world of carb-heavy food, it’s not easy to make the switch. But this place helps change the tides with ease.
Details for Flax Cafe
Address: Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 400051
Timings: 11am to 10pm
Price for two: INR 1,000
For reservations, call: 9372193066