Aloe vera in your smoothie anyone?
Chef Nishant Vijaykumar never ceases to surprise. Right from his bold decision to create a brand and chain around just brownies with Brownie Heaven in 2015 to his latest venture Smoothie Heaven — the youngster is buzzing with food ideas. “This is more of a take away and delivery outlet,” says the 26-year-old of the new 20-seater café perched on top of his Brownie Heaven outlet in Royapettah.
As I chat with the chef about his previous experiments with stuffed idlis and a vote-for-a-menu eatery among other concepts, he tells me that this time he is offering a healthy and natural fare that he hopes will become part of people’s lifestyles. “Smoothies are a thick blend of fresh fruits or vegetables. Often you will find folks labelling milkshakes erroneously as smoothies,” explains Nishant, as he offers me a tall, cold, cheerful yellow concoction.
When he tells me it is a mix of mango, guava and aloe vera — I sip it with trepidation — since I am old school and believe all things healthy must be tasteless. However, the sweetness of the fresh fruits laced with honey effectively washes away my doubts and I eagerly peruse the rest of the nearly 30-odd blends that have options of customised mixes too.
The limited food items (of barely three) on the menu are not meant to hold centre stage, but I find myself taking messy bites of their soft shell taco stuffed with pulled grilled chicken.Packing some serious heat, Al Pastor has me tearing up, while the vegetarian option, Harissa Cottage Cheese soothes the palate with a creamy dressing and soft cubes of paneer, where the raw mango salsa is spot on. All of it is chased down with a refreshing mix of papaya, apple, orange and carrot, a drink that has me beaming. Called the Glowing Skin — it is meant to, I believe.
I treat the tall, dark Nutty Job — a blend of chocolate, banana and dry fruits — as a dessert where the bits of chewy raisins are a pleasant surprise. While leaving, I concede to what Nishant, former junior sous chef of ITC Grand Chola, had said, “Choosing the ingredients for a smoothie is all about instinct. An instinct to match flavour profiles.”
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