LAST weekend saw me at the newly-opened Jerry’s Den, a vegetarian café inside a salon. Glass walled and compact, the 10-seater looks as if suspended in the middle of the new Tony & Guy Essensuals on Eldams Road. Partners, food stylist Neelima Sriram (44) and IT professional Kala Pillai (34), are excited with their maiden joint venture and tell me it’s all about their shared love for global gourmet signatures as they both have travelled extensively with years spent out of the country. The salon is Sriram’s venture and the self-professed foodie was among the top 30 in MasterChef India season four and is the creative force behind the café’s menu, while Pillai provides the business acumen.
As they get set for their formal launch this week, I get a sneak peek into their menu that comprises salads, pastas, sandwiches with in-house breads like the Ciabatta and desserts like chocolate mousse with passion fruit sauce and praline. The fresh salad impresses with crunchy romaine lettuce and generous shavings of Parmesan. The penne pasta is perfectly al dente and Sriram assures me the tomatoes were handpicked for the marinara sauce. “We believe in sustainability and use only local produce and seasonal vegetables. For instance, later we might replace broccoli — a winter vegetable –—with a summer veggie,” says Sriram. An exception would be the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil that she always buys from Eco-Nut. The aglio e olio is deliciously garlicky, though made with penne. Pillai points out that their beverage offering is unique with “an exclusive collection of green teas sourced from across the country”, like the Burnside Classic Spring Green.
Meal for two at about Rs 900, takeaway available (except desserts) Details: 9566039883
— Sabrina Rajan