With its range of veg and vegan options, Ashvita’s new restaurant in Besant Nagar gives foodies a taste of Nirvana

It’s Nirvana, but specially for gourmets, because this one is all about food. That’s why as we step into Ashvita’s new restaurant on Besant Nagar’s 5 Avenue we expect food for the soul. And we discover that the restaurant-cum-bistro offers vegetarian and vegan fare with options for a quick bite and a relaxed meal.

One half of the space is brightly-lit with interactive walls and low seating, catering to those who want loud music and louder chatter. To others, the feeling of fine dining, is created by the European staple — yellow and white walls, wooden cupboards and ceramic wall mounts. We decide to spend time in the intimately-lit room over a quiet meal on a balmy evening.

Delicious starters

Dynabites, Sweet Potato Fries and Roasted Jalapeno Potatoes for starters — we’re high on starch! While we wait, we decide to play Funskool’s Battleship, fighting over our cruisers and carriers like we did as 10-year-olds. The Dynabites are crumbly on the outside but mouth-wateringly molten inside. Even if their shape isn’t perfect, you can’t complain when your mouth is full of warm cheese and jalapeno bits.

The Roasted Jalapeno Potatoes are all right; the fried jalapenos complement the crispy, roasted potatoes. We’re not impressed with the Sweet Potato Fries; they are a tad soggy and lack salt.

We do try a mock meat; of course, it is called BBQ Chicken Sandwich and comes stacked with soya pieces and hot BBQ sauce. The result is a good mix of smoky sauce, vegetables and chunky bits of soya.

The Penne with Pesto and Vegetables is al dente with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese (the accompanying piece of brown bread, though, seems stale). The pesto sauce is fresh and the seasoning, perfect.

The hero of the evening, though, is the humble ‘Cucumber, Sweet Peppers, Lettuce, Dates and Tomato with Olive Oil’ salad. The dressing is minimal and the sweet, chewiness of the dates goes well with the crunchy lettuce and cucumber.

The restaurant staff recommend the cake shakes. We order a Chocolate Hazelnut Shake (vegan) and Chocolate Fudge Cake Shake. The hazelnut shake is thick and creamy, and the usual strong taste of soymilk is reduced by the chocolate. The hazelnut, of course, adds a nutty sweetness to it. The fudge cake shake is grainy and oozes rich chocolate — a perfect substitute for dessert!