Friday, February 5, 2016

Restaurant review: Lunch Buffet @ Sattvam - Bangalore, India

So if you have been following my blog, you would know that my husband and I recently completed 10 years of togetherness as a married couple. To celebrate this milestone, we were looking to enjoy a lunch date together. My in-laws readily volunteered to baby-sit the twins so we would get some time to ourselves. Being all too familiar with the notorious Bangalore traffic snarls, we didn't want to venture out too far so settled on SATTVAM, a restaurant serving Sattvic cuisine located near us. My in-laws who had previously dined at the restaurant, highly recommended it.

Situated in the up-market and plush Sadashivnagar area, Sattvam provides a unique dining experience for the discerning and health & spiritually conscious Bangalorean. In addition to an a la carte menu, this restaurant offers the largest vegetarian buffet in the city comprising of soups, starters, chaats, salads, breads, rice, main courses with accompaniments and desserts in Indian and adapted world cuisines. Patrons can also get a taste of Sattvam through an exclusive pastry shop at the ground level which offers exclusive Sattvic bakes made in the in-house bakery.

When on Sankey Road, look for the Godrej Nature's Basket and you know you are on the right track. A private lift takes you up to the restaurant. Once you are at the waiting area, you can glimpse wall-mounted plaques of the the numerous awards & accolades the restaurant has garnered.

Now, I wasn't clued in on Sattvic food. It sounded pretty insipid and uninspiring to me. A spread of vegetarian food without onion and garlic is food that cannot possibly taste all that good (in my mind) so I was intrigued by the concept and did some further reading to enlighten myself. Turns out that the online menu of the restaurant provides detailed info about the Sattvic cuisine and lifestyle and served as the main source of information which I am sharing with you here (so I don't get credit for it ok?).

We are what we eat is the popular and proven adage and the right balance of pure food is imperative for the creation of a person in Sattva guna - a person who has balance, order, and purity in himself. The original Sattvic diet was devised for the development of a higher consciousness and is prescribed for a consciously spiritual and healthy life; a perfect diet for clarity, physical strength, sharp mind, good health and longevity. The Sattvic diet is a regimen that places emphasis on seasonal foods such as fruits, dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-meat based proteins. Sattvic foods are rich and abundant in 'Prana', the universal life force. It requires avoiding canned and processed food, and foods prepared with chemical fertilizers or sprays. It also means properly prepared fresh foods. Onion, garlic and caffeine are taboo in a Sattvic diet as they cause denseness in the body. According to the Vedas, Sattvic foods are juicy, wholesome and pleasing to the heart, providing subtle nourishment for positive vitality.

What makes Sattvic food so salubrious is that all dishes are prepared and served fresh. Leftover food is never served or consumed. Hence Sattvic foods have a very low probability of forming 'ama', or toxic build up in the body This is the inherent philosophy behind Sattvam, a culinary experience which promises to be divine, pure and spiritual.

The interiors of the restaurant are appealing. The space is bright, well-ventilated, elegant and spacious which resonates with the quiet simplicity and dignified ambience of the Sattvic lifestyle. Trellises within the restaurant, sheer panels, fabric curtains and upholstery, lotus stencilling on the ceiling and lotus motif on the panelling are noteworthy design elements. Temple motifs, such as the Mahadhwar or main door, shanka and chakra symbols are woven seamlessly into a contemporary setting.

Soft, piped music playing in the background lends a soothing touch to the dining experience.

The views from the restaurant is enhanced by the rich foliage and stately trees visible from the large glass windows.

A live station, an elaborate buffet counter and the a la carte menu aim to give the insightful and perceptive diner an experience worth remembering.

We mentioned to the staff that we would like to sample the lunch buffet. We were informed that soups and starters would be served at the table. We were presented with a tangy tomato shorba which had juicy red pomegranate seeds in it (whoever thought of that is genius!) and six varieties of piping hot starters encompassing two types of kebabs, paneer tikka, tandoori pineapple, baby corn manchurian and dragon roll. All the items were good especially the hara bhara kebab and an encouraging sign of the quality and range of food to come.

Now, anyone who knows me well enough knows that I like to strategize and plan things. So, when there is an elaborate buffet in front of me, I first time my time to scan and survey everything on display and mentally plan out what I want to eat and how much of! I advise you do the same because the buffet at Sattvam is not your usual run-of-the-mill buffets. You don't want to overindulge and then discover something interesting you would have really wanted to sample.

To start off the buffet, there were mini dhoklas, pani puri & an assorted salad counter.

The dhokla was moist, fluffy and really good. 

Then began a line-up of curries and what a delectable spread it was indeed! I didn't want to miss out on any of them so helped myself to a tablespoon of each one. There was kofta curry, dum aloo, paneer makhan masala, gobi matar raseela, dal, govind gatta, saag and a dry variety of poriyal.

The highlights for me in this section were the kofta curry, the dum aloo, the paneer makhan masala and the gobi matar raseela. Yum is the word! I wasn't too big on the govind gatta though but maybe that's just me.

Hot, freshly made Indian flatbreads of your choice are served to the table within 10 minutes of your request so don't go hunting for the flatbreads at the buffet counter like I did!

There were a few varieties of rice too. Methi mongoli pulao, steamed rice & rasam, puliogrey and curd rice. I skipped the rasam and curd rice since those are things I eat on an almost daily basis and have a meh attitude towards. The methi mongoli pulao and the puliogrey had great flavour which my husband especially enjoyed very much. 

And if that wasn't enough, there was butter chilli noodles with veg ball in manchurian sauce, paneer kothu paratha & vegetable au gratin. I sampled all of them and each one was delicious in its own right.

The kid's counter had some colorful and appetizing-looking mini pizzas and sandwiches. I was tempted to try something from there also but then gently reminded myself not to be a total pig.

There was another DIY chaat counter but I passed up on it because I was more keen on the other dishes. My hubby remarked that he likes his chaats with lots of chopped onions so he wasn't digging it too much.

Finally I hit the desserts section. We all have a separate stomach for desserts (especially at a buffet) don't we? heehee

There was a chocolate fountain and an array of dippables such as fruit and mini cupcakes. I chose the fruit to ease the guilt of stuffing myself so much (never mind that the fruit were generously dipped in chocolate!). The quality of milk chocolate was to my liking which is not always the case and so it won my stamp of approval.

There was an assortment of pastries. Again, I had a little bit of everything. There were a few that stood out like the pineapple gateaux, mint mousse, blueberry crumble and chocolate pastry and some were nothing out of the ordinary.

And then came an arsenal of  Indian desserts. I was so full that I couldn't bear to eat anything else but the unusual lauki ka halwa caught my eye and I couldn't resist. I'm so glad I did because it turned out to the the best dessert that afternoon.

Hot, sweet, creamy and oozing with ghee.....aaaaah!

Those were my plates and yes I did indeed polish off everything! Do not judge me! I am a self-confessed foodie and glutton so whaddya expect?!

My concluding remarks
I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that we had a truly memorable 10th anniversary lunch. The food, the ambience and the service were all spot-on. Sattvam's menu transcends the paradigm of  'temple food' and brings to you designer vegetarian fare that delights the senses. What you can look forward to is the promise of a fine dining experience that is holistic and of higher consciousness. Whoever thinks vegetarian food is boring should definitely check this place out! Even though several of the items are indulgent, they are mild, light and flavourful. Traditional recipes are interspersed with bold, global dishes adding to the unique Sattvam experience. Note that their food is compatible with Jain proscriptions. My only complaints were that no drink was served, chaats just don't taste the same without onions and the non-Indian dishes were quite bland. Aside from the food, we found the staff to be polite and helpful. The ambience is perfect for a pleasant dining experience. However, I would suggest going on weekdays when it isn't allegedly crowded. An added advantage of going on a weekday is that the buffet is priced at Rs. 580 (Mon-Thur) whereas from Fri-Sun & public holidays, the price is hiked up to Rs. 710. A bit steep in my opinion but it is definitely worth your time and money especially if you are a vegetarian. Lastly, keep in mind that you are not to tip the stewards.

I would strongly suggest you go for the lunch buffet and recommend this restaurant for couples, families, large gatherings and business lunches.

My rating for this restaurant is

35, Sankey Road, Opp Shell Petrol Bunk,

Lunch 12PM- 3.30PM
Dinner 7PM- 11PM
Phone no: 080-23608000


This is not a sponsored review. The opinions and comments in this post are solely my own

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