The Paleo food hunt

The author traces an all-day Paleo food trail across the city, and across the dining spectrum

April 06, 2016 03:22 pm | Updated 07:01 pm IST - Bangalore:

Cut back on carbs Eat food that is unprocessed, sugarless and high protein Photo: Sudhakara Jain

Cut back on carbs Eat food that is unprocessed, sugarless and high protein Photo: Sudhakara Jain

Leonardo showed us how it’s done in The Revenant. The Oscar-winning movie might just have upped the glamour of the Paleo, one of the fad diets doing the rounds in recent years. If you had no problems watching Leo relish his pile of bison liver and slurp his way through a handful of fish from the river, you are the perfect candidate for this low-carb, high-fat and protein diet that has gained popularity among many for its promise to fight fat with fat. Sort of like a Jekyll and Hyde story, where the Jekyll (the good fat you eat) burns off the Hyde (the bad fat you can’t get rid of), this is basically caveman fare where you can eat anything our ancestors once ate- unprocessed, sugarless and extremely low in carbohydrates. The Paleo has devoted celebrity followers such as Jessica Biel and Megan Fox and many in the city have followed suit, managing to rustle up meals at home or to order in for standard salads via online portals such as while at work.

Yet this shunning of carbs becomes a huge challenge when eating out in a land such as ours, flowing with pav bhaji and idli, always ‘Meals Ready’ with mountains of rice crowned by a few accompaniments. There is the call to carbs at every street corner, especially the seductive lunch gong-like thunk thunk of the steel spoon against large drums of Dum Biriyani.

Resisting such temptation prompted a Paleo trail to a few restaurants in Bangalore to see whether it was possible to stick to such a diet while eating out on a regular basis and whether it was possible to trace a food route that catered to various budgets- from the pricier concept food restaurants to the ones that practically have no address since they are right there on the pavement.

Cut back on carbs Eat food that is unprocessed, sugarless and high protein Photo: Murali Kumar K

Many did not pass muster because of the deep-fried angle- cavemen certainly did not have access to big cans of vegetable oil! (see box below)

The Smoke House Deli


For the first meal of the day there are few arguments that can prevail against the Ghee Roast Dosai, the gift of South Indians to the whole world. Its all-carb temptation torments the Paleo person, who must turn his back on the allure of ghee plus sambar plus chutney and look elsewhere for an egg atleast. The Smoke House Deli in Indiranagar comes to the rescue with equally tempting breakfast options. Gluten free pancakes and free-range egg white omlettes or eggs Benedict made with arrowroot are available for breakfast. They have a dedicated new Paleo section on their menu with offerings such as the Paleo Coconut and Seafood broth that is also completely diary free. Their Kefir-soaked Chicken and Smoked Chicken make for tasty Paleo meals. A favourite is the Peri-peri chicken, succulent chicken breasts accompanied by low carb veggies such as roasted broccoli and cauliflower. All these can be satisfactorily topped off with sugar-free Panacotta made with almond milk.



Connie’s – The all day diner in Kammanahalli has a versatile breakfast menu that offers various combos with unlimited eggs and cold cuts of meat, varying in proportions from The Kings Breakfast to just Eggs & Coffee. When given specific instructions the chef obliges with an all-white vegetable omlette that bears no trace of oil. Coffee is served black so the dairy aspect can be avoided. Their Jack Daniels beef steak- beef cooked in whiskey and soya sauce is mostly Paleo (alcohol is not allowed on a strict Paleo diet); the Paprika chicken and Baked Fish in Orange sauce can all be relished while strictly on this diet.

Cut back on carbs Eat food that is unprocessed, sugarless and high protein Photo: Murali Kumar K

The Only Place

Church Street

A fun place to be on a Sunday afternoon when dodging the Sunday buffet lunch tradition is the good old The Only Place on Church Street. The chalkboard menu at the entrance suggests the Chargrilled Steak. Ask for sauce on the side, nudge the mashed potato off your plate, and you’re all Paleo. The veggie sides are mostly Paleo. Their Grilled Fish, Greek Salad and Mediterranean Salad can all be safely devoured when on this diet.

Seven Plates

Kalyan Nagar

Further down the food/cash chain, Seven Plates has several branches around the city offering kebabs – that rare Indian dish that has no carbs. If you can ignore the fact that these joints have the flakiest, softest naans and rotis – you are spoilt for Paleo choice with their starters. The small outlet in Kalyan Nagar is forced to seat people at tables on the pavement for lack of space and the perpetually long takeaway queues advertise the quality of their food. Nine cooks stand in 350 square feet of space feverishly catering to the kebab and tandoori demand. The chef explains that most diners think they are eating healthy when ordering kebabs but are blissfully unaware that kebabs are slathered in oil, many of them in cream and oil. Before and after grilling, much like a spa treatment. When pressed for non-oily options he suggests the Murg Reshmi Tikka, the Murg Angara Kebab and the Tandoori chicken, giving specific instructions to the cooks to lay off the oil. The open kitchen allows the diner a great view to check if these instructions are being followed.

Kebab Magic

Richmond Road

The trail gets more adventurous when moving from pavement tables to the actual pavement restaurants where customers stand outside and enjoy their Paleo meals. Kebab Magic on Richmond Road offers a succulent totally oil-free Tandoori chicken. A unique finishing touch is a liberal garnish of chaat masala that adds a memorable spicy zing to the freshly roasted meat.

Siddiqu Kebab Centre

Richmond Town

To help in the hunt for Paleo haunts at the extremes of dining experience, the owner generously points in the direction of a small bylane that might have gone unnoticed but for his suggestion. The Siddiqu Kebab Centre on Aga Abdullah Street in Richmond Town stands in the shadow of a giant mosque on a stretch of uneven pavement stones that must be carefully navigated. A full moon conspires with the golden yellow streetlights to create mood lighting for this standing-space-only outdoor dining experience set in a Dickensian world; office drudges stand shoulder to shoulder clutching paper plates piled with slivers of beef steak, rolls of kebab and cubes of beef.

They pause in their eating only to place more orders or to nod at one another. Autorickshaws trundle past, some drivers parking there for a meal at the end of a long day. The cheerful cook Mohammed Zoheb says that this place has been around for 21 years and although they are open only from 5 to 11 pm they cater to about 600 to 700 people each night. The Sheek kebab, Kalemi or Bolti Kebab and Beef Chops are every Paleo hunters dream- pure protein grilled in zero oil, post four hours of marination in black pepper and garam masala, apart from ten other spices.

The sole accessory to the food is a plastic can with water that has been placed on the pavement for hand washing. A grubby toddler wanders onto the street from apparently nowhere and stands framed in the lamplight. Shouldn’t you be in bed? I ask. She grins, tosses her curls, mimes eating. ‘On a diet, but so are we’, I tell her. ‘So are we’.


Grass-produced meats


Fresh fruits and veggies


Nuts and seeds

Healthful oils

(Olive, walnut, flaxseed,

macadamia, avocado, coconut)


Cereal grains

Legumes (including peanuts)


Refined sugar


Processed foods


Refined vegetable oils

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