For years, the people who taught us how to tie our shoelaces and got us out of bed for school have also tried to get us to eat our greens. Largely to no avail, if you were anything like us so what weâ€™re trying to say is, we donâ€™t blame you if you looked at this headline and went â€śEt tu brute? But iâ€™m a grown-ass man/ woman/ person now, stop forcing me to eat my greens!â€ť
But listen, you overgrown child, itâ€™s not 1995 anymore and the idea of a salad in India has evolved from the one-kind-only sordid assortment of carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions with a bit of lime on top. For one thing, the industry has changed significantly. Palates are more discerning and itâ€™s pushed culinary geniuses to discover newer, exciting ingredients; and for another, every chef we know has learned the art of planting a green invasion on our plate that sometimes tastes better than the dish itâ€™s decorating. Weâ€™re talking beautifully made, perfectly complementary (or surprisingly good) flavour combinations, accentuated by incredibly satisfying dressings you could never have imagined. No seriously, nothing marks an amateur salad and its maker as much as dousing it with Thousand Island dressing does.
But instead of us explaining what we mean, allow us to take you to the source of our change in heart. The kinds of salads weâ€™re talking about are the 19 weâ€™ve handpicked for you below. They contain everything from arugula and Gorgonzola to poached fruit, crispy duck, flavours of the season such as kale and quinoa, and even those perennial favourites of the health worldâ€”sprouts.
Bookmark this list for days you want to detox, or even for those when you just want to prove youâ€™re an adult with a change of lunch.
I. Roasted Pineapple Salad at BAD CafĂ©, Bandra
BAD CafĂ© located in the leafy bylanes off Perry Cross Road is one of Bandraâ€™s newest, most exciting spots. A chic, minimalistic tapas bar with a serious eye for detailâ€”everything from the cutlery to lighting fixtures and general dĂ©cor grabs your attention. Much like the Roasted Pineapple Salad, which does the same. A base of coconut yogurt and toasted almonds plays host to assorted lettuce, coconut malai, pineapple, micro greens and pineapple vinaigrette. Tip: Get some of the housemade espresso lemonade to go with it and your palate will be in for all kinds of flavour explosions and special surprises. Every bite is an adventure.
Cost: Rs. 340
II. The Feel Good Salad at Bombay Salad Co., Bandra
When youâ€™ve got an entire restaurant whose menu and raison dâ€™ĂŞtre is devoted to salad, you know itâ€™s going to be very hard to pick just one option. Thankfully, you donâ€™t have to do the groundwork (or eat your way through the menu) because weâ€™ve already done that for you. Our suggestion is The Feel Good, a power-packed salad made up of spinach, lettuce, barley, chickpea, cucumber, cherry tomato, grilled chicken, feta, pomegranate, and seeds, dressed in Dijon-thyme vinaigrette. And because we totally lied and couldnâ€™t pick just one, weâ€™re tossing in The Hercules too. Itâ€™s a new salad thatâ€™s high on fibre and protein and contains kale, mixed lettuce, carrot, broccoli, cherry tomato, olives, fresh Bocconcini cheese, grilled chicken, bacon, and sundried tomato tossed in a roasted garlic and basil vinaigrette.
Cost: The Feel Good is Rs. 270 for a small and Rs. 420 for a large, and The Hercules is Rs. 280 and Rs. 420
III. Chicken Caesar Salad at CafĂ© Zoe, Lower Parel
Thereâ€™s not much we can say about CafĂ© Zoe that hasnâ€™t already been said. Their food is great, as is the music, and their reasonably priced alcohol (a rarity in this city). Weâ€™re crazy about their pancakes and French fries, and sometimes, guiltily enough, we mix the two in a shameless face-stuffing breakfast. But when we want a pseudo-healthy option, because letâ€™s be honest, the mayonnaise in Caesar salad is nobodyâ€™s friend, their Chicken Caesar is what we go forâ€”crunchy lettuce and crunchier croutons in homemade mayonnaise results in a very satisfied tummy. Itâ€™s a classic and itâ€™s done bloody well.
Cost: Rs. 250
IV. Crispy Duck Salad Hakkasan, Bandra
Thereâ€™s very little that Hakkasan doesnâ€™t do well. And the Crispy Duck Salad is easily one of its standout dishes. A bed of pomello and pine nuts piled high with greens, shallots and duck slices. Start your meal with this and then move on to other dishes. Donâ€™t order it as a side dish because the flavours are complex and warrant the full attention of your palate.
Cost: Rs. 1,495
V. Wine Poached Pear Salad at Indigo Deli, Colaba/Lower Parel/Bandra/Lokdhandwala
Lots has been said about Indigo Deli over the years, so we wonâ€™t say much except for the fact that its foodalmost always manages to make us extremely happy. While we mostly go all-out-crazy-carnivore here, once in a way, a nice light salad is just as good. And on days when we crave some greens, itâ€™s the Wine Poached Pear Salad with arugula, caramelised Gorgonzola and spiced pecans in a wine reduction.
Cost: Rs. 545
VI. Chicken and Orzo Salad at La Folie Lab, Bandra
La Folie Lab is the famous Kala Ghoda patisserieâ€™s first store with an open kitchen. Here, unlike at Kala Ghoda, they do sweet as well as savoury. The wood and metal furniture and walls covered in illustrations of pots and pans make for a cheery atmosphere. But enough about that. Letâ€™s talk food. What youâ€™re getting is the Chicken and Orzo Salad. Orzo (a type of short-cut pasta), grilled basil chicken, kalamata olives and Parmesan shavings all doused in a nutty olive oil.
Cost: Rs. 390
VII. Green Apple and Fennel Salad at Le Pain Quotidien, Colaba/Lower Parel/BKC/Powai
Le Pain Quotidien is known for its trademark sourdough bread and its sinfully good pain au chocolat. But the Green Apple and Fennel Salad is a good reason to visit, too. The crunch of lettuce and the sharp sourness of green apple, both lifted to another plane by the subtle touch of fennel makes this a one-person meal. Do not share.
Cost: Rs. 425
VIII. Pumpkin Salad at One Street Over, Bandra
One Street Over is located just off Linking Road and its charming pub-like atmosphere with its brass-lit wooden interiors serves American comfort food with an Asian twist, with a mix of Chinese and Korean influences taking centre stage. The culinary forces behind this 60-seater restaurant are Kelvin Cheung (of Ellipsis fame) and Boo Kwang Kim of Little Goat in Chicago. The standout salad here for us is the Pumpkin Salad: roasted pumpkin, pepitas (edible pumpkin seeds), and charred greens with a house vinaigrette, Bocconcini and Parmesan. The little seeds create a nice balance between the delicateness of the roasted pumpkin and the deep smokiness of the charred greens. Also worth trying are the Cauliflower Plate (chargrilled florets dipped in cashew hummus and mint coconut chutney with sesame seeds, garlic chips and fresh pomegranate) and Date With Bacon (cured bacon, dates cut into strips, and pickled strawberries).
Cost: Rs. 450
IX. Kala Masoor Salad at Pali Bhavan, Bandra
Weâ€™ve been huge fans of Pali Bhavan ever since it opened. Its dĂ©cor is stunning, and its food is intensely palatable. And while weâ€™re usually there to dig in to its nalli and prawns, the Kala Masoor Salad won us over pretty effortlessly. The lentils are cooked just right, the peanuts add a nice crunch and considering the quantity and the fact that itâ€™s dal, this dish is a meal in itself.
Cost: Rs. 275
X. Roasted Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad at Pali Village CafĂ©
Pali Village CafĂ© is just the kind of place to grab a drink (their chilled melon sangria is delicious) and a bite with a friend. Weekends see this place go full, but during the week itâ€™s a lot more subdued and perfect for a tete-a-tete. To go along with that sangria, we recommend the Roasted Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad, which comes with arugula, walnuts, lemon vinaigrette and a delicate drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Strangely, a lot of people donâ€™t seem to like beetroots, so if youâ€™re one of them, try the Warm Kale with Shredded Date salad with lime juice and parmesan instead.
Cost: Rs. 375
XI. Kale and Quinoa Salad at Suzette, Bandra/Nariman Point
The Bandra branch of Suzetteâ€™s is right around the corner from our office and we make half a dozen trips each week to get croissants, coffee and crepes because we unabashedly love their stuff. And when weâ€™re not opting for a carb overdose, we usually take our time perusing over the make-your-own-salad section, because hey, customisation is king. But sometimes, we donâ€™t have the pleasure (or patience) to pick our own greens so we just ask for a Kale & Quinoa Salad to go and weâ€™re out the door within minutes. Kale and quinoa have both recently enjoyed their time as superfood of the year, and this dish lets you have a bit of them both at the same time. Double benefits never looked or tasted this good.
Cost: Rs. 550
XII. Shrimp and Avocado Salad at The Bagel Shop, Bandra
The Bagel Shop is where we go when we want to stuff our faces with food thatâ€™s always good in an ambience thatâ€™s always low-key. More often than not, we opt for their generously stuffed bagels and a shake, but when we feel like weâ€™ve just been carb-ing for way too many days in a row, youâ€™ll find us sitting in the corner surreptitiously scarfing down the Shrimp and Avocado Salad. Shrimp and avocado go great together, but they go even better with limeâ€”and this salad doesnâ€™t skimp on the citric component. Plump, firm prawns, creamy avocado and the sharp hit of limeâ€”itâ€™s delicious.
XIII. Methi Arugula Salad at The Bombay Canteen, Parel
Every time weâ€™re at The Bombay Canteen we find ourselves being incredibly indecisive about what to eat because their food is just so good. Thankfully, our confusion over appetisers and main courses doesnâ€™t filter down into salad choices. So our go-to here is the Methi Arugula Salad: methi microgreens, arugula, peanuts and onions.
Cost: Rs. 175
XIV. Poached Pear and Baby Arugula Salad at The Daily, Bandra
Weâ€™re actually pretty big suckers for arugula (also known as rocket). Itâ€™s possibly our favourite leafy greenâ€”itâ€™s peppery and nutty and rich in Vitamin C. And The Daily perfectly harnesses arugulaâ€™s amazing versatility in their Poached Pear and Baby Arugula Salad. For starters, poached pears and arugula go together perfectly, but when you add in cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, red wine dressing and feta cheese like The Daily does, itâ€™s a stellar combination.
Cost: Rs. 325
XV. Citrus Salad at The Pantry, Kala Ghoda
Thinking about The Pantry always gets our tummies rumbling. More often than not, we visit for the stellar roast chickenâ€”the best in townâ€”but weâ€™re also great fans of the Citrus Salad. Fresh sweet limes, star fruit, mixed lettuce, crispy strip sweet potatoes and BBQ rub popcorn. Another option is Nutrition Boost: a cottage cheese salad with mixed greens, fresh tomatoes, sprouts, candied orange rind, home-baked granola and pesto toast.
Cost: Rs. 195 for the Citrus Salad and Rs. 325 for the Nutrition Boost
XVI. Warm Lemony Couscous at The Sassy Spoon, Bandra/Nariman Point
The Sassy Spoon has two locations so far, one on Hill Road in Bandra and one at Nariman Point. Weâ€™re bigger fans of the Nariman Point one, with its gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows, weâ€™ll admit, and not always the biggest fan of their food but the Warm Lemony Couscous with prawns and squid deserves a spot. It comes with toasted almonds, peppers, chilli and coriander. Another good option is the grilled basil chicken with green apple and broccoli that comes with a soft-cooked egg.
Cost: Rs. 670 for the couscous and Rs. 555 for the grilled basil chicken
XVII. Roasted Beet Salad at The Table, Colaba
When The Table opened its doors in Colaba, it created waves in Mumbaiâ€™s restaurant sceneâ€”and for good reason. Everything about the high-ceilinged, split-level restaurant was top notch: the dĂ©cor, the drinks, and most importantly, the food. If you can control yourself and only order a salad here youâ€™re better than we areâ€”we usually go in a large group and have a little bit of everything as self-control during mealtimes is not our strong suit. That being said, the one to watch out for is the Roasted Beet Salad. Perfectly roasted beetroot, apples, arugula and walnuts complimented beautifully by the sharp pungency of blue cheese. Also worth trying is the SoBo Salad: grains and greens, chickpeas, avocado, feta, pumpkin seeds and mustard vinaigrette.
Cost: Rs. 600
XIII. Fig Salad at The Yoga House, Bandra
The Yoga House is not only a health hotspot with yoga lovers and those who wish to eat healthy, but itâ€™s also secretly loved by those who enjoy good wholesome food. Their Fig Salad is exactly whatâ€™s needed after a long dayâ€”dried figs, carrots, alfalfa, parsley, coriander, mint, and mixed greens served with sesame olive oil and a lemon dressing.
Cost: Rs. 280
XIX. Oriental Salad with Lotus Root at Yauatcha, BKC
Yauatcha, with its wonderful and modern interpretation of a traditional Chinese teahouse, might just have the best dimsum and raspberry dessert in town, but this surburban dumpling powerhouse also has a very, very good salad: the Oriental Salad with Lotus Root. Fresh, crunchy greens jostling for space with delicate slivers of lotus root and pomegranate seeds topped delicately with a sprig of fresh mint.
Cost: Rs. 575
Researched by Nida Razack