UPDATE – Since posting this blog, Nourish Organics has shut down and also the Whitecub ice-cream parlour in Gurgaon – although the ice-creams are available at many outlets including Lean Chef covered below.
November is vegan month. Yay! It is always a challenge to eat out as a vegan and even harder on a whole plant-based diet or a healthy vegan diet. However, with a little tact and asking the right questions, it is not all that hard. Infact, all authentic south-east Asian restaurants offer vegan when you order vegetarian because historically there is no dairy in traditional diets of Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia etc.
Some of my favourites in this category are Mamagoto, Dimsum Brothers, The Monk and for a fancy treat, Neung Rai, the Thai restaurant at Radisson Hotel offering a range of different cuisines from around Thailand. Recently, I even heard of The Spice Route Restaurant in Imperial Hotel offering a full vegan menu! Still, it’s a nice surprise when you go and ask for vegan at an eatery and you don’t get a strange quizzical look from the waiter.
It’s not all that fun when dining out, to repeatedly go through your rant of “vegan means – vegetarian and no eggs, milk, cheese, butter, curd, ghee, paneer, cream, buttermilk or honey” – whew that’s a mouthful!
This often leaves the poor waiter confused and going into the kitchen and causing further consternation to the chef! So, I was pleasantly surprised to come across five small eateries in Delhi/ NCR who understood the word “vegan”. It was a moment of delight and pure joy which only other fellow vegans can understand. For a vegan, it’s no less than winning the lottery! (You know what I mean, don’t you, fellow vegans?)
1. Lean Chef, M-22, GK II, New Delhi, 011 4653 6666
An absolute delight in the middle of crowded GK market thanks to my friend Mala Barua who asked a friend for healthy places to eat. It was one of those lottery moments when the guy behind the counter knew all about vegan and also smilingly accepted the fact that I also wanted gluten free. He went out of his way to inform me of any unwholesome ingredients and offered me his best whole plant based dishes. They have a health angle to the cafe and I love the art on the walls and these little flags that come with some of the dishes. Their commitment to serving healthful meals is admirable.
Mala and I first relished our fresh beverages. Berry blast was absolutely scrumptious. Then we tucked into a raw papaya salad and a mushroom topping on gluten free toast. I am definitely going back soon to try more dishes. They will also soon be stocking vegan ice-creams by WhiteCub. For a look at the menu, you can view more photos here.
2. Organic Express in DLF Phase II, Central Arcade Market, Gurgaon, 08447309024
A few months old and a favourite with Gurgaon vegans and health enthusiasts. I love the clean interiors and minimalist design of this imaginative cafe. They believe in promoting “food with a conscience”. It offers an extensive menu 8 pages long with salads, wraps, sandwiches, subs, burgers, pasta and Indian options etc. They also have an abundant menu of delicious fruit and vegetable juices on offer. They do home delivery within Gurgaon.
One of the things I absolutely loved was that the vegan items were always presented first in the menu and marked with a special green symbol. This felt special instead of having to dig through the whole menu trying to figure out what to eat which is the norm for vegans venturing to eat out.
3. Nourish Organics, 30 Mehar Chand Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi close to India Habitat Centre, 01149051184
Since the publication of this blogpost, this store has closed down. I do hope they will open again somewhere soon as the food was my favourite in Delhi.
This has been an old favourite of mine for many years. This tiny cafe is mostly raw, mostly vegan and mostly organic! I have eaten practically everything on the menu several times over. I love their no rice sushi, Arabian platter and grilled vegetables salad. This is the only place in the city offering raw vegan desserts like apple pie. If you are in the mood for a healthy beverage, they offer several fresh juices.
4. Rose Cafe, 2, Westend Marg, Saidulajab, Near Saket Metro Station, New Delhi, 01129533186
A lovely mother and daughter run this lovely cafe in the middle of nowhere. When I entered, I felt like I was transported to a little, quaint village cafe in England! There were beautiful rose themed decorations and collectibles everywhere. They have a pleasant outdoor seating area, European style. It was all very stylishly and tastefully done and oh so English!
When I said I was vegan, I was presented a vegan menu, yes an actual whole vegan menu! The food is not necessarily whole food which would be considered as “healthy vegan” but it is definitely worth the occasional treat and the servers are very happy to help you out if you want to hold the sugar, want soy milk for your coffee or less oil where they can accommodate. All in all a very enjoyable dining experience. Whenever I am in the mood to celebrate, I hop across to the elegant Rose Cafe. Here’s my niece enjoying our favourite treat, the dark chocolate vegan gelato!
5. Whitecub Ice-creams, L01, Qutab Plaza Market, Shehtoot Marg, Gurgaon, 9818699795 , 9810349795
Since the publication of this blogpost, this store has closed down. However, White-cub ice-creams are available at a number of retail outlets like Foodhall, and Godrej Nature’s Basket etc.
We are so lucky in Gurgaon to have India’s only fully vegan ice-cream parlour! Run by a passionate vegan, Sonal who is a delight to talk to, this is her labour of love. When her son innocently asked why vegans could not eat ice-creams, she was inspired to bring this treat in many flavours to support the vegan food movement. She offers imaginative and delicious flavours like blueberry, passion rose, pineapple and chocolate. The sugar free chocolate is sweetened by dates and one of my favourites. In the vegan pilgrimage of Delhi-NCR, it would be my top vegan temple! I saved the best for last! There’s my friend Bhavna and me enjoying Whitecub’s chocolate ice-cream!
Let me know if you found this useful and if visit any of these restaurants and how you find them. I would love to know more below.
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