Review: JustBe Café, Sadashivnagar

This little café exudes warmth that goes well with their smoky squash soup – largely because the room is dominated by pastel colours and signboards entreating you to love yourself.

We acquiesce, beginning brunch with beet and lentil falafel roulades. The tiny, chewy roulades are consumed in a first flush of affection, although there’s real crush potential in the falafel, the lightest we’ve eaten. Squash soup for the soul is a creamily textured affair, and leaves us with a nice minty after-taste. (Better than some dates we could tell you about.)

A fresh-faced, substantial couscous salad co-habits with many vegetables and herby lemon vinaigrette. The audible crunch of green-and-leafies drowns out, bite by bite, the little voice inside that reminds us of our love for cold cuts in salads.

Cashew cheese, as a vegan supplement, this works as a gooey add-on to the pie, practically glowing with its relative lack of calories.

Alas, a deconstructed vegetable lasagna fails to keep up the romance. This isn’t so much for the obvious lack of pasta (no under-the-sheets action, you could say) as because it’s an under-seasoned heap of eggplant and potato. Pizza with a thin millet crust is topped with olives, baby spinach, basil and cashew cheese. As a vegan supplement, this works as a gooey add-on to the pie, practically glowing with its relative lack of calories.

While we wait for chocolate and chia pudding and an apple cinnamon smoothie, JustBe’s owner Nidhi Nahatha makes her way over to emphasise that the menu is entirely plant-based and gluten-free. Her journey to JustBe-ing started three years ago at a holistic clinic in Gokarna, where she says she reversed asthma and cholesterol with a change in diet.

She assures us a few simple tweaks to our food habits will make a world of difference to us, too. Frankly, this is a very suspicious notion. But on cue the decadent dairy-free pudding arrives to dispel almost all doubts. We may or may not be beyond help, but are definitely ready for an old college try if this is thrown in as a sweetener. (The smoothie is a lovely bonus, luscious and creamy with just a hint of peanut butter in the flavour.)

The pudding induces us to check into JustBe’s organic store retailing millets, brown rice, vegetables and other virtuous treats on our way out, and head back home with a bag full groceries. We’re not sure what we’ll do with it just yet. Lettuce see how we fare.

Getting there: 383/31, 13th cross, Sadashivnagar, call 08048538672. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 1800.

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