Carrot pancakes and fennel smoothies are some of the highlights on Amethyst’s new healthy menu.
Carrot pancakes and fennel smoothies are some of the highlights on Amethyst’s new healthy menu
MIRA Manek, born of Gujarati parents in East Africa and brought up in Dubai and London, has a talent for taking apart bundles of flavours common to Indian cooking and recombining them in healthy dishes that evoke the familiar, while being entirely different at the same time. The effect is both modern as well as delicious. In the city recently to add some of her dishes to the menu at Amethyst, London-based Manek, 33, came to healthy cooking and eating after years of fluctuating weight and skin problems. In time, through yoga and experimenting with food, she found a way to give her body “what it needs, rather than what it wants”.
There are five or six dishes, including smoothies, that will be introduced to the menu. The carrot pancake (sprouted oat flour and carrots, sweetened with honey and cooked in coconut oil) that we start with, served with coconut ice cream, is an anomaly for her: she doesn’t usually use ice cream. But she had tried this one and decided to create a dish around it. It’s delicious even without the ice cream, the oil particularly adding a creamy fullness. The saffron and cardamom muesli introduces us to spices with accompaniments we hadn’t considered. Here, the oats, soaked overnight in apple juice to make them more “digestible”, come with chia (the distant Indian cousin of sabja seeds, known for their use in falooda), yogurt and chopped ripe mango. The result is a filling experience, the fruit adding enough sweetness to enrich the drink without tipping it over into dessert territory. Between this and the fennel smoothie, I am quite done for the day. The latter, with its cooling thandai flavour of fennel, with soaked cashews and dates, is not as thick as one would expect and, served in a tall glass on a hot summer day, can easily fill and chill.
Salads to choose
Somehow we find room for the kale and date salad, a signature recipe of Manek’s and we’re quite glad we did. Featuring nuts, chopped strawberries and other vegetables in a coriander-cumin dressing, it’s delicious and quite ‘western’ a salad, which also somehow evokes a dahi papdi chaat. I will be ordering that one again. However, by this point we crave something savory, so Manek whips up a tofu scramble that, with green chilli and mustard seeds, is quite an Indian almost-eggs scramble. It’s a smidgen too bitter and spicy, though, for me to enjoy it fully, but others may enjoy the edge. In all, Manek’s contributions are welcome additions.
Rs 1,000 onwards. Details: 45991630
— Ranjitha Gunasekaran