Canada's Jus Booster Juice is here, with fruit drinks spiked with herbal additives
Filter coffee doesn't really define us. Honestly, we're more a city of tall, cold, sweet juices. Think about it. Filling petrol? Sit on the wobbly plastic stools of the adjacent juice shop and swig glasses of intensely purple grape. Sweltering through traffic? Pause at a roadside stall, where the owner will quickly whizz together pink pomegranate pearls, ice cubes and cold milk. Waiting for a bus? Kill time with a beer mug brimming with thick mango pulp.
The best thing about our city's juice culture is how wonderfully accessible it is. The man glugging a Rs. 30 orange juice on the side of a soggy road, getting periodically splashed by speeding malevolent motorists (we hate you guys by the way) and the assiduously blow-dried model on a detox programme delicately sipping orange juice for Rs. 250 at a five-star hotel are essentially consuming exactly the same product. (Give or take a couple of spoons of sugar.)
So, how does a juice maker stand out? Well, we all know the story of now-iconic Fruitshop on Greams Road started by Harris Abdulla and Mohammed Salim at a time when juice was more functional than fashionable. Their first slick outlet, which was imaginative, sassy and — most importantly — assiduously hygienic, became so popular, it's now a chain with an outlet in Dubai.
So, how will Jus Booster Juice from Canada, the latest entrant, fare in an environment as competitive as this? Pretty well, actually, thanks to the fact that they're introducing a whole new facet to the juice experience, thus complementing the city's juice institutions instead of competing with them.
Their first outlet, set in the swanky Ampa Mall (Nelson Manikam Road), radiates energy, thanks to the cheerful staff. The space is tiny, but bright and seductive, splashed liberally with information on how their smoothies aided by boosters (herbal additives and natural supplements) can make you thin, beautiful, and the owner of a pretty yacht anchored at the French Riviera. (Okay. Fine, there's no yacht — but you get the general idea.)
Admittedly, it's difficult to resist this wicked combination of warmth and creative promise. So we try the wheat grass shots, something only a cow would enjoy. Apparently, they boost your immune system, cleanse your body and improve your complexion. Additionally, 30 ml of this juice is equivalent to a kilo of leafy green vegetables. Which makes it perfect for the Lochness monster when he's feeling off colour.
The juices and smoothies, nevertheless, are delicious. They're made in front of you, in a collage of panache and colour, thanks to a line of futuristic blenders set at the counter. We try the icy Strawberry Sunshine (Rs. 99), featuring strawberries and passion fruit laced with guava, banana and yoghurt. It's powered with a ‘Wilderness booster' (Rs. 20) of spirulina, barley grass, wheat sprout and alfalfa powder.
There are nine boosters to choose from, including a Lean Fitness Booster and a Brain Booster. Although none of them have any taste, they're meant to increase the nutritional value of your smoothie. The best thing we try is the tangy Very Berry (Rs. 119), bustling with cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, all swirled in yoghurt and a scoop of creamy sorbet.
Now, let's be practical, a couple of juices aren't going to change your appearance, curl your hair and make your ex-boyfriend rue the day he cheated on you. On the other hand, this is definitely a healthy alternative to coffee, or junky snacks.
And, perhaps, if you drink them often enough, these boosters will eventually have a positive impact on your health, hair and skin. After all, ingredients such as acai berries, spirulina and Echinacea are universally acknowledged to be powerful.
Our advice? Try a booster product — juice, smoothie, shot or booster — for fun. Let the benefits be incidental. And, dump that miserable cheating boyfriend anyway.