With a focus on ingredients and flavour, Sante Spa Cuisine at Besant Nagar is about mindful eating with a gourmet twist
Expect options like a refreshing gazpacho with a pomegranate sorbet and the most decadent vegan chocolate shake ever from their alluring new menu and don't miss the great rooftop view.
It has been three years since Trivesh Marlecha, along with his wife Ambika Chowgule, brought the Pune-based restaurant chain Sante Spa Cuisine to Rutland Gate Road, Chennai. Now the couple has launched another outlet in Besant Nagar that boasts a new view and a new menu. The two-floored restaurant is a stone’s throw from the beach and the rooftop promises a view of the bustling shore line. However, the core philosophy stays — that of vegetarian delights with a conscientious bent for wellness. A chat with consultant chef Shailendra Kekade who was visiting from Pune confirmed that our tasting session would be replete with adventurous flavours like a chilled refreshing tabbouleh tomato soup and unique recipes like their signature Chlorophyll dim sums in a puddle of Thai curry-like dip.
“I think cuisines are obsolete,” says the popular chef who has more than three decades of experience and believes that today the focus is on ingredients rather than regional identity. “We believe in giving you cleaner and healthier options — without compromising on taste,” promises the chef. However, when we dug into the Roasted Fennel & ‘Maghai Paan’ Salad, we were introduced to more than a combination of flavours that defies a cuisine identity — it is an exciting culinary adventure. Encapsulating Shailendra’s ethos beautifully, we noted hints of Mediterranean salad freshness flirting with notes of roasted indigenous coriander seeds and the audacious boldness of a rose petal vinaigrette.
Even as the palate sings with the thrilling new flavours — the artistic plating is worth writing home about. Exuding a vibrant global gourmet touch, the aesthetic experience includes a play of colours, textures and shapes. The gazpacho mentioned earlier had a frosty ruby-red island of pomegranate sorbet in the middle of the bowl and was perfect for the balmy weather. Those looking to go vegan must try the pizzas here that have bases like ragi, almond flour and cauliflower. We enjoyed the wood-fired activated charcoal based Casablanca Vegano which was garden fresh with muhammara, hommus and tabbouleh and a scatter of pomegranate beads.
The foie gras of wild mushrooms is addictive with silky texture and subtle flavour and we are not surprised that it is from the chef ’s personal picks. Another dish that inadvertently is a draw for non vegetarians is their Truffles Tagliatelle ‘Bolognese’. The hearty sauce coats the pasta perfectly and offers a balance of spice and tang with a texture that is delightfully akin to the original bolognese. With the scent of the salty sea in the air, we decide to skip the line-up of exotic ‘guilt-free’ desserts and instead go for a dark chocolate milk shake to linger at the rooftop for a bit longer. Topped with whipped cream, the thick, velvety drink is almond milk based (you can pick oat or coconut milk too) and works as a rich dessert and a night cap of sorts.
Meal for two at about INR 1,500++
— Sabrina Rajan