Updated last week
A ‘Homestyled Vegetarian’ experience
The Sarai, near Oasis’s is a resting place. The word Saraya means infinite to flow creativity. Deeksha Thind with her sons Zora and Siddarth have (as the name suggests) an oasis of creativity. From Organic vegetables to the Eco styled get up, they have conceptualised a resting place for the young and wise who would once again love to be ‘Born free.’
As you enter the sound of running water gurgles. Down a short flight of steps a semi thatched awning seats the diner by the pizza oven. Wooden benches to sit on -the place has a carefree bohemian space to relax in. Walk down to the main house; sit on casual sofas in the bright colored rooms adorned with paintings of young upcoming artists or in the verandah by the waterfall. It’s unique, offbeat and a novelty.
It’s a café styled menu …vegetarian and organic to the core. Young volunteers from abroad cheerfully welcome you with a bright smile (there are no waiters to serve). The combo drinks are worth the order. The musk melon with mint @Rs 100 or the Orange, ginger, lemon and mint @ Rs 110. Drop in for that pizza. Wheat based and hand stretched. The Saraya special pizza 8” @ Rs 180 and 10” @ Rs 350 are one of the fastest moving preparations. Herb cooked mushrooms, cheese, spinach, feta, caramelized onion, black olives and tomatoes. Quite a spread – The interesting part is that the menu evolves based on available ingredients. The pasta @ Rs 240 gnocchi, fettucini, lasagna, ravioli- could change daily. Choice of sauces would include pesto, marinara or even a white sauce. The salad of today was a healthy amaranth leaves, olives, sprouts, tomatoes in an apple cider dressing. Fresh and crunchy the savory strudel is another favorite as is the hummus @ Rs 150 big enough to serve 3. Garnished with black olives, wedges of tomato and served with crusty pie.
Plus And Minus
Pizzas are available for dinner only, although you can drop in during the day for a snack or a meal like the fusion thali. All food is home styled…you will not find the crispy strudel because of its unique filling, but the taste is awesome because its goodies are filled to capacity (like the dessert strudel with seasonal fruits raisins and peanut butter). The portions are big and the prices are value for money. There are a few Vegan preparations too and the all favourite paranthas (aloo, cheese, mooli and sweetened too). Drop in for their coffee or the masala chai. Chat with the high energy volunteers or tour around their eco houses. Parking is plentiful own the side road. Bring your spirit along; this place lets your energy flow, its Sararya after all.
Critic reviews are anonymous and all bills are paid by them.
Updated this month
An 'Inspired/ European' Experience
What's the code to discover creative and inspired preparations? Sunny Jobanputra and Rahat Virani have defined a method where preparations from around the globe are recreated. With a repertoire that range from Mexican, Asian, Italian and Mediterranean the chefs have fine tuned recipes to create that 'code' which helps one to interpret and savor.
It's an old house converted to match modern dining. An open garden for seating, then enter into the air-conditioned space - stark shades of white and black neatly positioned, utilizing every space for relaxing (lounge bar) and for dining (restaurant). Creative murals on the walls add its own signature. Black place mats, elegant cutlery gives it a 'fine dine' avatar. It's a place where one relaxes for a casual meal or transforms into fine dine mode. Have it your way.
Perhaps it's the choices that the menu has to offer. Unique salads (8 listed), go Bang Bang at Rs 320, cuisine inspiration - Indonesia. Chicken slivers and pimentos tossed in a peanut infused dressing and sesame seeds. Something more local on the palate? Wings at Rs 300 Chicken winglets - have it spicy (Thai chilies) - must try, BBQ (old favorite) or Jagermeister (shot glass of the spirit adds its own appeal). Or opt for the Mezze platter at Rs 380. Big enough for 2 and the presentation a wow. For mains, the spinach and goat cheese ravioli in arraibatta sauce at Rs 400 - A creative inspiration of Grilled chicken and spinach with a pink guava BBQ sauce at Rs 460. (Chicken chunks dipped in the sauce and accompanied with the spinach risotto) have that with the Fratelli Classic Chenin, it highlights the meal.
Plus and Minus
The chefs prepare different desserts everyday, ask and they will suggest. Today it was Seradura, Chocolate brownies fudge with ice cream and Indian styled carrot halwa with toffee. Accompany those delights or go solo with a Tiramisu cocktail called Pick Me Up or a cheesecake one. Uniquely spirited. The portions are creatively displayed and yet wholesome in quantity. Taste is great. Personal touches like giving wet wipes after having the chicken wings - thoughtful. Should you want to eat casual, there are burgers available too, or if in a fine dine mode then they pair the wine for you too. The Classic Shiraz Cabernet was suggested for the ravioli. Saturday evenings and Sundays too will have music with different vibes. Parking is basic, one may have to go off the road and this is definitely not the place for run of the mill traditional. All in all it’s an experience, a code shared for good food, spirits and class.