India’s first whole-food plant-based restaurant, Justbe Resto Cafe, is a beautiful blend of wellness and holistic lifestyle. By Bindu Gopal Rao
As I park my car and get inside Justbe Resto Cafe—located in the plush locality of Bengaluru’s Sadashivnagar—I am transported to a space with a distinct arty vibe draped in eclectic interiors handpicked by the founder, Nidhi Nahata.
Housed in the erstwhile Outreach Library, the homely space is built on a 90-year-old heritage building with plenty of spaces apt for social distancing. In fact, the cafe has a variety of spaces with names like Living Room, Veranda, Dining Room, Court Yard, Den and Studio (where Nahata conducts cooking sessions).
Embodying the taste of good health, the food at Justbe follows the age-old philosophy of ‘we are what we eat’. The food here has no dairy, no refined flour, no sugar and no oil. It’s all about great-tasting food that is naturally healthy. With a focus on whole plant-based foods, each dish connects you with nature and helps forge a deep connection with food.
The menu is free-flowing, and divided into sections like Perfect to Share; Superfood Bowls; Gourmet Toasts; Small Plates; Home Style Curries and Stews; Nostalgia; Mindful Munching; Chefs Let Loose; and Mishti.
I start my meal with the Justbe cooler, almond milk served in a glass bottle with bits of almonds. A must-try dish here is the aptly-named Blissful—roasted ragi paapad with a whole wheat flatbread served with a spicy dip, peri-peri almonds, boiled peanuts, and sea-salted cashews. Likewise, Enchanting—fenugreek and beetroot nachos with almond-cheese dip, guacamole, and pickled vegetables—is a yummy, guilt-free snack too.
When here, you must try the Pizza Paparazzi, an assortment of chef-selected bite-sized pizzas (there’s a chocolate one with bananas too!). Do try Amigo—a bowl of marinated avocado and flaxseeds; broccoli almandine; red dates; cherry tomato compote and quinoa. If you like tofu, try Jian, a delightful mélange of steamed silken tofu with ginseng, steamed Bok choy, goji berry, moong beansprout salad and brown rice.
Next I try Sanyas, a salad with roasted sweet potatoes, raw papayas, poached tomatoes with dill, and fresh turmeric in a slightly spicy yet flavourful chilli dressing. The Mac and Cheese here is topped with nut cheese, and garnished with finely chopped red peppers, making it delightfully flavourful.
Another interesting dish is the Sweet Potato Gnocchi, made with sweet potato dumplings, horse-gram and edamame ragi topped with zesty orange and cauliflower chips. While the flavours may seem unusual, the dish comes together beautifully.
For Indian flavours, try the Khata Kachori—a mix of baked kachori and potato kadhi mixed with tamarind and mint chutney. Also taste Nawabi, a dish comprising of Zafrani biryani, raita, kachari ka achaar and raagi paapad. Although the curd is made with peanuts, it’s just as delicious as the real deal!
No matter what you choose, the ingredients used are sourced locally—partly from natural farms, and partly grown organically. Nutritionist, health coach, and food therapist Nahata sums the food experience by saying, “The food here is designed for the body. Every meal you have here is fibrous and nutrition-rich, which makes it a great healer for the body.” And I can not agree more! A meal at Justbe is all about celebrating food, and a meal here shows you exactly how it is done. Highly recommended!
Price: approximately INR 1,000 (without taxes) for two people
Timings: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm (Monday to Thursday); 11:00 am to 11:00 pm (Friday to Sunday)
Address: 383/31, 13th Cross Road, Sadashivnagar, Bengaluru
Contact: 080 48538672 / +91 9513804561