Cholayil Sanjeevanam – A health food restaurant

Saturdays are my laziest days. The most I do on a Saturday is eat one heavy meal, and sleep to compensate the previous week’s loss of sleep. It helps me get refreshed, and ready to face the new week.

There are a few odd Saturdays that I do get called in to work, forcing me to postpone my sleep compensation to Sunday. 😦

So what does one do when he gets called to work on a weekend? Get mad? Rant? Me – I go pamper myself with a good meal.

It was on one such Saturday that I walked into Cholayil Sanjeevanam on my way to work – To pamper myself with a treat for my taste buds. I was pampered alright, but it was a different kind of pampering.

Let me tell you a little about this restaurant.

Cholayil Sanjeevanam is a vegetarian restaurant located in Koramangala, close to the Madiwala Masjid (Ayyappa temple) signal. This restaurant was developed with the aim of providing healthy food which was tasty – to break the myth that tasty food cannot be healthy.

Sanjeevanam claims that there are seven reasons why their food tastes good:

– Use of fresh vegetables and natural ingredients.

–  All food is prepared fresh to ensure health and taste.

–  Use of Healthy and safe cooking methods.

–  Use of natural sweeteners in place of sugar.

–  No use of ingredients that have long terms side effects.

–  No use of artificial colors and additives.

–  Food preparation in consultation with food and health experts.

It says so on their table mats

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On that hot Saturday afternoon, I ate their “Rajakeeyam” lunch special. Rajakeeyam is a Malayalam word which means Regal. In Sanjeevanam, Rajakeeyam is the name given to the 8 course meal buffet, served every afternoon. It consists of a starter, five juices, four uncooked dishes, four partially cooked dishes, and a few fully cooked dishes.

Now that we have made the required introductions, let me move on to describing my experience with this meal.

The first course was a fruit starter. This was a thick slice of a ripe uncooked plantain served with a little grated coconut. I was told that this eliminates the acidity in our body. I was too eager to start, so the picture only shows half the starter 🙂

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The next course was a set of 5 juices served in shot glasses. I was to have each of them in order. The first one was date syrup, followed by cashew nut milk, beetroot and pumpkin clear soup, spiced buttermilk, and finally, rice bran water – the water extracted after cooking rice. Each one of these is supposed to have medicinal properties. As their website indicates, date juice is rich in minerals; the nut milk provides the essential fatty acids, the clear soup acts as an appetizer, the butter milk cools the system, and the bran water provides you with Vitamin B Complex.

After 4 shots of good flavor, the bran water seemed very bland. 😐

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By the time I finished with the juice shots, I couldn’t wait to dig into the actual food and fortunately for me, the polite waiter said that I could proceed with the uncooked course of the meal.

This course comprised of four uncooked dishes – Sweet puttu which was made from aval/poha (Beaten rice), Raitha made with banana stem (pith as they called it), and two vegetable salads – one was made with cucumber, green gram sprouts, and carrot; the other had with beets, cabbage, and carrots. All of these dishes tasted very good.

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Portions on my plate:

IMG_20150221_140317The aval puttu was my favorite.

The next course was a set of four partially cooked dishes. This comprised of the banana stem poriyal/upperi (Stir Fry), Pumpkin Pachadi, bottle gourd kichadi, and Olan – a dish made of ash gourd cooked with beans in coconut milk. The flavors of these dishes were spot on.

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This was how they looked on my plate:

IMG_20150221_140849Yes, I was partial to the banana stem stir fry.

The next course had fully cooked dishes – These included Avial, Bitter gourd poriyal, and spinach poriyal. I enjoyed the Avial and the spinach very much. The spinach was cooked with green gram, and mildly spiced to bring out the flavor of the spinach. The Avial was cooked just the way they do in my home town. Very few have mastered the art of cooking the bitter gourd without retaining its bitterness. Cholayil Sanjeevanam is not one of them. I found the dish to be too bitter for my taste. I guess my taste preferences are to be blamed here. :\

I took these as accompaniments for the rice and sambar.

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The Main course consisted of Dal, Sambar, Rasam, Morkuzhambu, Buttermilk, Rice – red and white varieties, and Chapathi. I found the Dal, Sambar, and Rasam to be very watery. It could have been a bit thicker. Also, I am used to my Sambar, Rasam, and Dal being a bit more on the pungent side. So these dishes seemed a bit of a letdown for me. They did seem to go well with the rice, though.

The Spiced buttermilk did make up for the watery curries.

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The next course was the Payasam. It tasted very good. Unfortunately, I liked the payasam so much that I finished the whole cup before I remembered to click a picture. 😦

At the end of the meal, I was given a teaspoon of honey. This was followed by the Beeda made with fresh vegetables and a hint of cardamom, and wrapped in a betel leaf. This was the final jewel in the crown.

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The whole meal inclusive of the taxes cost me Rs. 380/-. My first reaction to this was, “Whoa!!!” (In my mind, of course). But considering that Sanjeevanam has made the effort to include a wide variety of vegetables, and taken the care to cook them ensuring that their flavors are intact, I felt that the price was not so bad.

I think I had a healthy treat on that Saturday afternoon. It left me full, and satiated. Like I said before, it was a different kind of pampering.

The Rajakeeyam meal is only available in the afternoon. In the evening, Sanjeevanam has an à la carte menu. You can choose what you want to eat. I have eaten a few things from this menu and have found them to be quite tasty. However, my kudos would definitely go to the Rajakeeyam – A meal fit for the “Vegetarian” King 🙂

Would I visit this place again? Yes, for the Rajakeeyam – especially when I have been neglecting my portions of vegetables, and need to balance the quota of my vegetables for the week 🙂

I hope you find this review helpful. Enjoy!!! 🙂

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