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    School lunches get a new-age menu with this startup

    MOTHERS today will tell you how challenging it is to please their little monsters when it comes to the contents of their lunch boxes. That’s reason enough for them to opt for Monkey Box — a lunch delivery service start-up geared towards school-going kids.

    Spoilt for choice
    Catering to a number of well-known schools in South Bengaluru since April this year, Monkey Box delivers 700-plus tiffins each for breakfast, lunch and snack. Their menu is different every day and includes interesting options like Banana Pops with Muesli, Tahini Salad with Spiced Chickpeas, Beetroot Paratha, Brown Rice Patty Burger and more.
    Intrigued by their concept, we visited them on two days. Our first visit was during the Monkey Box Super Chef Challenge competition. Chefs from eight leading hotels were literally sweating it out, trying to put their best dishes forward. The winning assortment was the Teriyaki-Glazed Mushroom Tacos with Parmesan Fondue, Quinoa Salad and Tian of Ragi Dosa, Spinach and Paneer with Tomato Cream — presented by chef Pawan Kumar Reddy, from The Leela Palace. These dishes will be included in their menu from November.

    Our picks
    While everyone was looking forward to sample the exotic new dishes, we opted to tuck into their regular menu. We tried the Millet Bath, Beetroot Paratha, Brown Rice Patty Burger and Sweet Pongal, as we were keen on seeing how traditional Indian ingredients have been given a contemporary twist. Millet Bath was a smooth and pasty amalgam of organic millets with veggies like cauliflower, kidney beans and tomatoes. Non-greasy, yet made with ghee, it reminded us of home-cooked Bisi Bele Bath. Beetroot has been used intelligently to make tiny red parathas. Served with mint chutney, the sweet beetroot and its spicy accompaniment make for an interesting combination. However, it was the Brown Rice Patty Burger that was our favourite. Soft and fluffy buns toasted lightly and packed with tawa-roasted brown rice and lentil patties will surely give the big burger chains a run for their money. The Sweet Pongal was impressive too, and will not give a true-blue South Indian a chance to complain.

    The kitchen visit
    On visiting the kitchen we saw a team of 27, highly energetic cooks, helpers and head chefs at their unit in Uttarahalli, ensuring every box is packed to perfection.
    Veggies and grains were
    cleaned and washed before being moved to the main kitchen, returned tiffin boxes were shifted to the washing area outside the kitchen and cooked food was being packed by a team of seven. “Every step is meticulously planned and executed,” explains Sanjay Rao, co-founder, while his partner, Sandeep Kannambadi took us around the facility that’s also open to parents who wish to visit before subscribing.

    Rs 750 upwards.
    Details: monkeybox.in

    —Ayesha Tabassum

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