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Food for the yogi, rogi, and bhogi

WHAT IS supposed to be India's first pan-Indian vegetarian restaurant - Moksh - opened on May 25 at the Chancery, Lavelle Road.

For starters, the place and the menu are planned by three masterminds - Jiggs Kalra, the legendary cook, Pushpesh Pant, ayurvedic expert, and Marut Sikka, administrator. Automatically the expectations run high, with the stomach almost growling to get a taste of the food.

The interiors are pleasing and are designed in such a way that the attention is just on food. A semi-circular cooking area is situated in the centre, which is visible from all corners of the dining area.

Moksh, said to be unique in its concept, is designed in such a way that it encourages an "interaction between food lovers and the chefs".

Now, you can treat yourself to food that is not just Mr. Kalra's innovation, but also food with herbal inputs from Mr. Pant.

"Ayurveda is nothing but a science of good and healthy living. Food, good or bad, makes or mars man. The food here is inspired by the philosophy of Ayurveda."

No, it's not the place where you head to when you have a headache or an upset tummy, but it is a place where you go to pamper your appetite. "This food is good for the yogi, rogi, and the bhogi," said Mr. Pant.

Once in the restaurant, instead of drumming your fingers on the table, waiting to be served, you not only get a view of the open kitchen, but your sensory organs get treated to the crackling of a seasoning, splash of oil on a hot girdle, or the aroma of various spices. There's mausaum ka ras (seasonal fruit juice), kesar elaichi lassi shikanjvi (traditional Punjabi lemonade), and Ananas da panna (a fruit drink combined with cumin and mint) to begin with at the restaurant.

There are also a wide range of salads that can be eaten plain or with yoghurt.

Though the restaurant offers a basic menu for starters, main course, and desserts, it gives you a choice to mix and match recipes and also choose whether you want your dish to be stir-fried, roasted, deep-fried, or just boiled.

The menu offers the Bengali chenna paaturi (paneer cooked with ground mustard in a banana leaf), bhunee chaat, mutterwali tikki (peas patties) along with a variety of handi curries, sabzi, and daals, served either with rice, rotis or parathas.

If you are the adventurous sort, who dares to experiment with food, then go right ahead and order whatever catches your fancy. But if you are fussy and like your food to taste in a particular way, then it is advisable to pay attention to the chef's recommendations. There are certain dishes, which are a pleasure to gulp down while there are some, which make you think what they are made of, and there may be some that you will have to acquire a taste for, especially those that are cooked in mustard sauce or paste.

The menu is restricted to just vegetarian dishes as "it provides for more experimentation", said Mr. Kalra. But surprisingly, this restaurant, which is supposed to serve food from all over the country, does not offer any local food.

"There are many restaurants that serve mosaranna and chitranna in the City," explained Mr. Sikka. But look closer and the food is limited to only a few States. "We have actually included those states that have a weather similar to Bangalore's. We serve fresh food. The menu has been decided keeping in mind the spices and basic ingredients that are available. Right now we do have a few Mangalorean delicacies on the menu," added Mr. Sikka A meal costs Rs. 250 upwards per head.

The restaurant is open from 12.30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m..You can contact Moksha on 2276767.

SHILPA SEBASTIAN ROMELES

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