A mix of hits and misses

There are some foods with which we share a love-hate relationship, which is to say we love to hate it and, conversely, hate to love it. For me, salads fall squarely in this category. I can count on one hand the number of memorable salad experiences I have had, but it was my new-found urge to eat healthy (don’t worry, such madness doesn’t possess me often) that led to me trying out this Salad Bar.

With a few promising combinations on offer, some of which seemed a bit similar to the ones dished out at Bombay Salad Co., I seemed to be on to a winner. And the Mexican Soup (without any crushed nachos, sadly) was a hearty, homely start to proceedings that I couldn’t get enough of. I loved the bits of chopped tomatoes and peppers in it, and I similarly loved my Tex Mex salad, in particular the explosively good lemon mint vinaigrette it came dressed in. With a mildly spicy hit hammering the back of my throat (courtesy the jalapeño that lingered in it), this salad was a winner through and through.

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That, however, was as good as it got. The special for the day, a Prawn Tempura, blew my mind for all the wrong reasons.

I beseech you, go have a look at the photo I took of it. Go on, I’ll be right here when you’re back.

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Excellent, you’re back after seeing that photo. In which case, good on you. If you didn’t, I can only assume you have authority issues.

Anyways. Look at the damn thing. It’s a goddamned bhajiya. Where is the gossamer like batter of a tempura? It’s not to be seen within miles of this prawn bhajiya. I don’t mind having it much, but this was like falling for a damsel in Thailand only to find out that the plumbing isn’t what it’s supposed to be. Frightening stuff, just like this Prawn Tempura.

Worse still was the cavalier attitude of the server to whom I explained this issue.

“But the salads are fine, right?”

That’s the equivalent of me telling my co-passengers, “But you didn’t die, did you?” after they tell me to stop auditioning for the Fast and The Furious. Not quite the response they were looking for, and neither was I.

I wish Freddy boy had asked if the salads were fine after we had the Arugula Curried Chicken Salad and Red Warrior. The former was a bit of a mess, with the glass noodles adding nothing to the dish, and the vinaigrette offering no citrusy joy like I thought it might. It was underwhelming to say the least, and it went back without having known what love is. I could almost hear it strumming a sad song as it went off.

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The Red Warrior was almost as disappointing. Remarkably similar to the Red Samurai at Bombay Salad Co., which is one of my favorite salads in the city, it was like a pale shadow of everything that makes the Samurai a force to be reckoned with.

Warmth? Nope. I’ve had exes that were warmer.

Depth of flavour? Nope. The soy ginger was surprisingly flat, just like a tepid conversation.

Well-cooked protein? Nope. It wasn’t well done and was too chewy.

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Worse still was the fact that you have to hunt through all that foliage to actually arrive at the soba noodles, of which there was precious little. This salad on the whole disappointed me so much since I know this salad is a winner when all the tumblers fall into place.

My Citrus Cool Buster (Freshly squeezed orange, carrot, ginger, honey) also didn’t do much for me, and I suspect plain old orange juice would simply have been better. There was also too much pulp at the bottom, meaning we actually couldn’t finish this off entirely.

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The damages for 4 came to approx Rs. 2200 for 3 salads, an appetizer and 4 juices and it wasn’t too much of a dent on the pocket, but given that we didn’t walk out sated, I’d say that this wasn’t a happy meal in the truest sense of the term, and it only served to feed my fear of the true green-eyed monster, salads.

Get: The Tex Mex

Forget: The Arugula Curried Chicken Salad

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