Sunday, 8 December 2013

Millets of Mewar, Udaipur, India (Alissa and Don Eat Asia Day 14, Part 1)

By the time I'm a week into India, the constant diet of curry starts to take its toll. Sure, there are a plethora of vegetarian options in India, but these are only marginally healthier with their liberal use of dairy products and ghee. The lack of fresh vegetables due to fear of food poisoning makes you seriously start to miss the simple pleasure of a crunchy raw vegetable or a healthy salad, and when you can find a place with reputable cleanliness its almost a godsend.

Located on the same west side of the lake as Ambrai but preceding the annoying alley of touting, Millets of Mewar proclaims itself as a 'Healthy Indian Fusion Restaurant' and is one of the few places outside of Jain restaurants that serve vegan food (most vegetarian restaurants in India are usually lacto-vegetarian). Serving a clientele of often dreadlocked, largely American hippie stereotypes, I was initially disappointed to see the first floor lacking in tables with only lizard lounge mattresses on the floor. While I don't mind sitting like this for a cup of coffee, I don't particularly like eating without a table. Thankfully, an upper floor with table and chair dining was offered to us.

The menu was filled with interesting and delicious sounding vegetarian dishes, including pizzas with the option of vegan cheese. Not being vegans this didn't particularly matter either way for us, however for those who don't touch dairy its worth noting. Alissa decided to go with the Mushroom Mixed Vegetarian Pizza, I went with the Indian Taco and excited by the idea of greens we decided to share a Spinach and Beetroot Salad, along with a Banana Date Shake with coconut milk and vegan raw date coconut ladoo balls.

The service here was terribly slow. It took them quite a while before they even came to take our order, and then once taken it seemed like an inordinately long wait before our dishes were brought out. At that point they also stated that the Spinach and Beetroot Salad was not available, so we went with Sprouted Bean Salad with Peanut and Tamarind instead as it also sounded very nice. 

My Indian Taco was pretty cool – two shells placed together filled with a moong bean paste, a coleslaw-like salad with mayo and a very nice salsa that tasted like it had hints of Indianised spice additions to the usual Mexican original. This was tasty and fresh. It was lovely chewing crunchy raw vegetables after so long!

Alissa Vegetarian Pizza was good too, seeming to use the same salsa sauce from my taco as a base. Though of course cooked, it was again still nice to have a vegetarian meal – especially combined with the comforting nature of decent pizza. I've definitely had better pizza back home in Perth, but it hit the spot on that day.

I should mention too that the Banana Date Shake was very tasty. Not exactly super healthy, but coconut milk worked very well with the banana and date flavours – better than milk would have.

After finishing our meals, we wait for a while of our salad. It never came. It seems like there must have been some mix up and our order for the Sprouted Salad never reached the kitchen. We were having a fairly chill day, but after all this wait we decided we didn't want the salad that much, and collected our ladoo balls, paid the bill and left. 

The ladoo balls were nice sweet desserts  – very much like raw vegan desserts I've had back home, but so much better because of the signature Indian dessert spice – cardamon. Cardamon is one of my favourite spices, and it definitely elevated the dish in my esteem. As far as being called a ladoo ball though – it tasted nothing like a 'real ladoo'. I quite dislike when a dish is 'veganised' but bears little resemblance in taste to the real thing. Nothing to do with it being vegan per se, but I feel this does the vegan version a disservice insofar as in my mind I'm expecting one flavour and getting something that does not at all match with the image in my head. So as a new, different dessert these ladoo balls were very good in their own right, however if you're expecting a raw vegan version that actually is close in taste to a traditional ladoo this is not the ladoo you're looking for.

The Verdict: Good
When you've been on a non-stop curry eating binge its nice to have a change. Millets of Mewar definitely was what we were looking for at the time, though in the great scheme of things its not necessarily the best vegetarian restaurant I've eaten at. But a far as a safe place to eat raw veges in Udaipur goes Millets of Mewar is a good option.

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