Cream Centre, New Yorker and Little Italy are top of mind when it comes to pure vegetarian restaurants serving international cuisine and in recent past Quattro and Aye Dios Mio, the tex-mex places have been creating ripples in the vegetarian dining scene of the city. Restaurateurs have perhaps woken up to the need with the latest addition being the month old eatery ‘Vedge’ located in Fun Republic, Andheri West. I was recently invited to experience the place and here is my account.
The restaurant is day lit in a very casual and relaxed setting with wood and wrought iron furniture. I would call it a smart casual diner. They do not serve alcohol but have an array of drinks, from cooler to iced teas to frozen Margaritas. I was pleased to see local drinks, Aam Panna (cheekily named Panna Roma) and Kokum Magic, I settled in for the latter. The Kokum came in a jam jar with roasted cumin; it was refreshing and a good aperitif.
The Gusto style platter of flavoured flatbreads, herbed, cheese and basil, sundried tomato and olive and Garlic was very average , too much bread I thought and the dips, sweet chili, salsa, cheese sauce did not compliment them at all, the Basil and avocado dip sure did justice. The tomato soup with tortillas and sour cream was made well. The Chukandar (beetroot) galouti a take on the lamb galavati kababs was not melt in mouth, I would rather call them tikkis which were cooked to perfection and the mango tapenade gave it the extra element. The Kung Pao potatoes were commonplace, very good as a drink accompaniment though. I also tried the Thai corn cakes which ended up being lacklustre corn and aloo tikkis with a faint easy-to-miss flavour of Thai herbs.
The flaky Malabari Parotas and vegetable curry in coconut was the highlight of the meal. The Burmese Khow Suey was more of a very rich and smooth south Indian ‘Kurma’ with coconut and garam masala; and they did not have rice noodles to go along. The Penne alla Paprika was very comforting, home like; a mix of white and red sauces sometimes called the ‘pink’ sauce.
Passion fruit cheese cake was rich and creamy; the crust could have been thicker and crumbly. Jalebi with rabri and chocolate sauce was ordered, I loved the decadent jalebis and rabri by itself, the chocolate spoilt it for me. The kulfi sundae was the classic kulfi falooda with some chopped fruits, the fruits lacked any flavour and did nothing to enhance, I suggest they should stop at falooda.
The meal was overall was very average apart from some very good dishes, they have to find the balance of fulfilling people’s expectations with regards to authenticity of dishes vis-à-vis tantalizing their taste buds with customized twists. I shared my feedback with the owner, 22-year-old Aaditya Sawant a trained restaurateur who set shop in the country after brief work stints in New York and London. Aaditya gave a patient ear and said, ‘We will be revamping the menu every month based on consumer feedback and insights till we find the right combination. We get a lot of families and idea is to have a menu mix which can satiate the taste of most if not all.”
A meal for 2 at the Vedge will cost you less than Rs 1000. Go experience it!