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    Ashvita Nirvana’s sixth pop-up kitchen promises some Italia vegan specials.

    Entrepreneur-turned-chef Samir Pasad and his wife Hemali Gala of Vegan Bites, the Mumbai-based catering service, are coming to Ashvita Nirvana to whet our appetites and improve our diet charts with their vegan offerings. The restaurant is hosting the Italian Vegan Fiesta, a three-day pop-up featuring wholesome, plant-based and dairy-free Italian recipes. This is the couple’s first ever attempt at conducting pop-ups, after being recommended by the restaurant’s owners who loved their food.

    Believing in providing healthy choices to their customers, Gala says, “We want to serve our diners hearty meals that are good vegan alternatives. We intend to move away from the typical buttery and cheesy characteristics of Italian cuisine (usually loaded with calories) by replacing vegetables for pasta sheets and cashew paste for cream and cheese, etc.”

    From pasta to risottos, the pop-up will have many Italian staples that are flavoursome, despite the healthy alternatives used. For instance, coconut and cashew paste is used instead of the original béchamel, while Gala has used zucchini in place of spaghetti. Mushroom risotto and the eggplant parmigiana are the couple’s personal favourites from the menu. The three-day event will also have ice creams sourced from Vegan Bites, in flavours such as choco chip and cookies and cream. “They are organic, and are made with natural flavours. Plus, they are preservative-free,” says Gala, adding that they plan to upgrade to a vegan cafe in Mumbai.

    November 25-27. Meal for two at Rs 2,000 approx. Details: 24424404

    — Sakina Valsadwala

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