In a NUtshell:
A unique and outstanding restaurant in town that serves very good and interesting healthy vegetarian fusion food from across the world that tastes good too.
Address & other details: Sante spa cuisine
Meal for 2: ₹700 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian only
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
There are many receipts. So pasting them back to back at the end of the post
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry:
We had tried food at sante spa mumbai. So when I was in Ahmedabad for a rather longish work that lasted a few weeks, I decided to visit the newly opened restaurant. Unlike my eating out habit – never to repeat a restaurant and always try new dishes, I ended up eating I guess 20 dishes here. The chef and staff became friendly in some time and after a point I stopped seeing the menu. I would just walk up to the chef and say ‘Naya kuch khilayiye’. To my pleasant surprise he could remember what all I had eaten b4 and he wud actually keep serving me new dishes.
The restaurant is a part of a chain which had its first restaurant in pune, followed by BKC mumbai and third in mumbai.
BeFore I talk much about the restaurant, I would like to share this about us – We love good food and are not biased towards vegetarian or non vegetarian, cuisines etc. we have a wide palate – we appreciate thin watery flavourful Chinese soups as much as we love a good fiery laal maas or an authentic kashmiri pandit version of no onion no garlic mutton roganjosh. We love a good kerala kari meen potichattu as much as we like a baked Atlantic salmon or a steamed Boston crab or an awesome panki or a mocha (banana flower curry). We love overnight (12 hrs) slow cooked nihari as much as uncooked / raw sashimi of fatty tuna (fish) and salmon roe (raw eggs of salmon fish) or a great undhiyo (gujarati delicacy which I think is an amazing invention). Great food is what matters. We have no bias.
We super love our food at traditional vegetarian restaurants like soam, swati (gujarati), Prakash, vinay, aaswad (marathi), anima Madhava bhawan, Murugan idly (southern Indian), gangaur, Balaram mullick radharaman mullick (north Indian and Bengali) etc.
We love authentic food made in the traditional way and also good fusion food . We dislike food made with shortcuts and random things being called ‘authentic’.
My take on Food at sante – I love the original recipes that were born vegetarian but have not liked some fusion food that have been inspired by a meat/ seafood dish. We are not used to eat some of these items in a vegetarian form e.g. a dimsum with a scallop / seafood / lamb filling made reasonable well will taste better than a brilliantly made dimsum with veggie fillings. An eggless cake will not necessarily taste as good as the traditional one with eggs. A virgin sangria in my mind, can never match a real one etc etc. in case u think that’s my prejudice, pls write back in the comments.
I also love the seriousness they put in creating the food – all breads are baked from scratch, sauces made in-house, ingredients very carefully chosen. Thin crust pizza is made from ragi base – a little bit of maida is used while rolling the dough. That shows up in the quality of food.
With the theme of healthy, vegetarian , fusion food from across the world, I think the chef has done a marvellous job. If one is to judge the food on purely my taste parameters, some will make it and some will not. When seen thru the screen of the theme, food is probably as good as it could get.
Staff – the restaurant has good smiling staff but currently they seemed inadequate in numbers. All of them are not necessarily well trained on the subject – some are, Rest are not.
Loved the wooden cutlery. Was super impressed with the handmade straws made from leaf.
I have seen the restaurant full very often closer to weekends and in general during dinner time. The restaurant seems to hv started off very well, thanks to the unique concept.
Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
I had food here on several days, on several occasions. Will write about these one by one.
Due to my prior experience at mumbai sante, I avoided the Asian fare (veggie version of a dish that was born non vegetarian).
Beetroot and spinach hummus – this one is a visual gem. I had it twice at this restaurant and loved it. Smooth, slightly pungent, thick, has a character of its own. Yet flavours of chickpea overshadowed that of beetroot in the pink. Love the super crisp Khakhas that come with this. Rate it 4.5/5
Spaghetti of farm grown fresh vegetables was a marvel. The veggies were cut like spaghetti. Super crunchy, lovely dressing. Fresh. Rate it 4.5/5
Pineapple spinach spearmint was an interesting drink. Loved the tanginess. The spinach flavours expressed themselves a bit but were not overpowering. It turned out to be an unusual flavor. Rate it 4.5/5
When chef suggested the Burger, I was unsure. That showed up in my face it seems. Chef assured me that the burger wud b good and so it was. To begin with, I hate all chain store burgers sold in india like Mc Donald, KFC , burger king etc etc due to the pathetic quality industrial maida bun they use. The starting point of the burger at sante was the beautiful bread that was baked in-house. The patty was YUMM and had a lovely crunch on the outer side. Unlike the chain burgers this one did not have the cheap and substandard cheese overload. Neither did it have extra sauce dripping from all sides after every bite. Now that I sit and think about it, I would prefer this vegetarian burger to a lamb burger of burger king any day. Rate the burger 4.5/5
Loved the karela chips on the side
Pan seared zucchini kebabs were lovely. They were different than most kababs I have ever had and I loved those. The chutneys on the side were nice and complimented the food. I am otherwise not a chutney person coz i feel chutneys overpower the flavor of meat / other ingredients most of the time. Rate it 4.5/5
Southern spiced cottage cheese sauté was outstanding. Just loved this new take on paneer tikka. It reminded me of our Gurgaon days when during winters we wud go to old Gurgaon and gorge on lovely paneer tikkas made to order. The version at sante had a totally different and nice flavour of southern spices, a fresh take on the timeless but sometimes over done paneer tikka. Loved every bit of it. The sweet chutney was nice but it interfered with the lovely tikkas (I call them that). Rate the dish 4.75/5
Farm fresh pizza was a rockstar of a dish. Absolutely Loved the Super thin, crisp, ragi base. It had minimal cheese that was enough to not dry up the mouth, enough to hold the veggies to the base and also enough to convey the flavours of cheese. The veggies were crunchy. Overall every bite was enjoyable due to the optimum mix of ingredients and also due to the beautiful interplay of textures. Rate it 4.75/5
Pizza fungo was almost the same ingredients with olives and marinated mushrooms as topping. Loved this as well. Rate it 4.25/5
Pizza capri was again similar base and had olives, bocconcino, cherry tomatoes and basil on top. Loved it and rate it 4.5/5
Veg akuri was another pleasant surprise. Akuri is a classic Parsi dish that has scrambled egg atop a slice of bread. The one at sante is marvellous – brilliantly made from curdled milk (in place of egg), this akuri had just the right texture and the perfect taste. Rate it 4.75/5
Birchers muesli at sante is something else than the one u get at 5 star hotel breakfasts. This one is not sticky, does not have a fermented feel, is not thick and not lumpy. This is totally something else, but with the same name.
The Bircher muesli here is prepared overnight and placed at the bottom of the vessel and is topped with generous amounts of juicy exotic and other fruits. There is a slight sweetness to the dish and no hint of salt / sour. That makes it kind of unidirectional. I guess a bit of twist can give this dish a big push. I felt great (light) after eating this and I know I will eat it again but since the rating is on taste only, rate it 3/5.
The bread basket is an assortment of bread that comes with assorted butter. We were told that this is good butter. Since I am no doctor, i am not getting into the details. Must say that this tasted super fab. The butters, the in-house baked breads r just awesome. To top it, the presentation is surely a conversation starter. Rate it 4.75/5
I had Multigrain khichada on 2 occasions. Initially they used to put something like a ratatouille in the center. Now they have started serving it separately. The relatively plain Khichada and the tangy ratatouille create a yin & yang kind of situation. I love this dish coz it is filling and does not make me feel heavy after the meal. I also am able to appreciate tasty bland food. I do not recommend u to order this if u have a strong taste palate. Rate it 4.5/5
Whole wheat spaghetti with kale sauce was another marvel. The spaghetti was perfectly cooked. The sauce was a killer – visually and also by taste. Loved the raunchy veggies in the pasta and also the cherry tomatoes. Rate it 4.95/5
Buckwheat gnocci and Mediterranean veggies was a revelation. The gnocchi was totally different from the maida version and it might take many people some time to start liking it. The taste and texture grows on you. The sauce was a gem and the crunchy veggies were perfect to munch on. I super loved it. If u r used to maida only, u might b disappointed with the taste and texture. If u r willing to risk it, pls order. Its a gateway to a new world of YUMM yet healthy food. Rate it 4.75/5
I always felt that the meat / seafood in a Thai red curry is always ‘besides the point’ as the main attraction is the bold flavours and taste of the gravy and the crunchy and flavourful veggies. The meat / seafood add their flavor but they usually do not over power the flavours of the curry.
I also had the previlege of attending a cookery class at ‘the blue elephant’ heritage restaurant bankok and I remember a comment by our Thai Chef trainer ‘the green curry and red curry gravy should be thin and watery in consistency and bold in flavours – contrary to the thickened, milder version sold in most parts of the world.’
The thai red curry and the Thai green curry were excellent in terms of taste. The veggies were crunchy. However they were both over thickened with coconut milk and hence the sharpness/ robustness of the ingredients had reduced. Loved both but wud hv loved the original version way better. Rate each 4/5. Must mention that I am a fan of the outstanding thick red rice that comes with the red and green curry.
Vegan upma of quinoa was another dish that I was very wary of, when chef recommended them. However the first bite proved I was horribly wrong. It was a piece of art. Brilliant taste and outstanding texture. Again loved the crunchy veggies on the top. Rate it 4.75/5
Bombay grilled vegetable sandwich was excellent again. Crisp, In-house baked bread, layer of veggies and superb chutneys in the layers. Rate it 4.5/5
Grilled veggies in green sauce was also nice. A simple grill but perfectly seasoned. Loved the crunchy veggies and every drop of the sauce. Rate it 4.5/5
Heritage Asian purple risotto was another rockstar. I was floored. The rice was to fight for. Topped with crunchy veggies , placed on a puddle of sauce. Just mind blowing texture and taste of the risotto. Rate it 4.95/5
The green pao bhaji was another marvel. Outstanding in-house baked breads. A bhaji with a dollop of butter that tasted so good. Unputdownable. Uncontrollable licking the plate clean …. etc etc. rate it 4.75/5
Quinoa pilaff biryani is the one in this series that I disliked. Coz biryani to me is a sacred food (not in a religious way). I have travelled kilometres to eat the right biryani, once in a while travelled to another city to eat great biryani. The beauty of biryani is aromatic / flavoured, independent grains of (long/short , based on region) rice with meat in it or some kofta (or any vegetarian faux meat). That was totally missing here. The quinoa stick to each other like khichadi. On top, there was a layer of cheese which put me off. The taste was good but not great. Overall it was a disappointment for me – the only one disappointment out of the 26 meals I had here. Rate it 2/5
Loved the Organic oats cookie – they heat it and serve. That makes it a bit moist but retains the crunch on top. Rate it 4.5/5
Home made nachos, stir fried veggies was the last in this series. Super loved the nachos – I dislike 90% nachos sold in india coz most people miss the trick in making the base right. The White cheesy sauce was brilliant and so were the veggies. A memorable dish for me. Rate it 4.95/5
Overall rating of food at sante spa Ahmedabad averages out to 4.4/5
Looking forward to trying out the rest of the items on the menu card.