The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe serves varieties of salads. The freshness of the ingredients gave us a very good overall experience.
In this merciless heat and excruciating humidity, travelling 23 kilometers to other part of the city is a daunting task; however, the excitement to connect with new people and my very good friend Pooja Trehan always cheers me up. Therefore, when the lady invited me for a food tasting session for The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe at Vashi, I could not deny this opportunity.
On a Sunday afternoon, my entourage – my dearest husband – and I landed up at The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe at 2:00 PM which is located exactly in front of Four Points by Sheraton and InOrbit Mall. Our first encounter with The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe was very good, and we liked it in all the aspects: food, hospitality, and ambiance. Being a fitness freak, salad bars are always my preferred choice where I can eat without any guilt, and, indeed, we all had a nice time at this place in beating the heat by indulging ourselves into good and very healthy salads.
As the name suggests, this place serves different varieties of salads, and it is also a café at the same time. We were fortunate to meet the owners – Mr. Kunal Mattoo and his wife – of this restaurant who explained us their modus operandi. He mentioned that their intention is to serve healthy and fresh food to the customers, and this notion is their top most priority. Also, I was extremely happy to see a good balance between the vegetarian and non vegetarian salads where vegetarian salads comprised of 50% of the total salads. This harmonious arrangement was an astonishing fact, and, after a very long time, I saw a place where the vegetarian dishes had the equal weightage. I see a lot of scope in this place, and I am sure that with some minor changes, The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe will not take much time to attract the customers because lot of people do look for healthy options these days.
The food was good and very light. The freshness of the ingredients especially in the salads gave us a very good overall experience. We had a popeye salad, creamy tomato pasta, cheese and mushroom omelet, waffles, and a caramel custard, and we liked all the dishes; however, we did suggest some minor improvements – on a positive note – regarding the salad.
People who are familiar with “Popeye – The sailor man” will understand the importance of Spinach in this salad which has the following ingredients: baby spinach (as expected), tangerine, kale, some almonds, sprouts etc., and all of them were extremely fresh. The presentation and the preparation were good, and the salad looked appetizing. It had a nice seasoning of vinegar where the sweet and sour flavors tasted good on my palate. The salad looked beautiful, light, and I liked the colors and the vibrancy. Also, I loved tangerine in it, and the flavor was going very well with the other vegetables. Overall, I liked the salad, and I enjoyed it; however, I missed the seasoning of salt and pepper in it. It can be a personal choice, but I felt that it lacked the required saltiness due to which it tasted a tad bland. The team did keep these condiments on each and every table; however, I expected the aforementioned ingredients to be in the salad already. Except this concern, the salad was good, and I liked its earthiness and overall flavors.
Cheese and mushroom omelette:
Being a fitness freak, I avoid cheese some times; hence, I asked my server to replace it with Spinach, and he acknowledged my request very courteously. According to me, spinach and mushrooms go great with eggs, and I love their flavors in an omelette especially. The presentation of this dish was incredible, and the avante-grande style was hard to miss where the show stopper was the amazing shape of the omelette (See the image below). It looked irresistible, and the chef showcased the dish in a very intelligent manner. Till the end of my dining experience, I kept on pondering about its presentation style as I was smitten with it. The great finesse was very much visible from the sight of this dish, and it did create an indelible memory; absolutely stunning. Fortunately, the presentation was not deceiving, and the omelette was amazing in taste as well. It was impeccably smooth from inside, and the flavors of spinach and mushrooms were blended very well. This dish was perfect in presentation, preparation, and taste where I was glad that its sophisticated display did meet the expectations in terms of the overall taste.
Creamy tomato pasta:
In all honesty, I did not expect much from this fusilli pasta; however, it proved me wrong and turned out amazingly well. The taste, the creaminess, the consistency, and the texture were spot on. The pasta was absolutely delicious. All the ingredients were blended very well, and the result was an incredible harmony in terms of flavors; however, I missed the heat or the spiciness in this dish. No doubt, it had the impeccable flavors, but I would have preferred some spiciness as it was absolutely missing. Again, it can be a personal choice; hence, the server might ask its customers the level of spiciness, or the team can keep some red paprika as a condiment. But, we enjoyed this dish to a great extent, and the overall taste was beyond my expectations.
We felt let down in the section of drinks, and, unfortunately, they did not meet our expectations. We ordered the following: Pomegranate Orange Mint (POM) juice and Cucumber Mint Lemon juice, and we felt that both the drinks were diluted to a big extent, and there were hardly any flavors. I did convey this message to Mr. Kunal, who is the owner of the restaurant, and he mentioned that they do not prefer to use unnatural flavors to enhance the taste as their priority is to maintain the freshness by using the fresh ingredients. I agree to this concept; however, it is not necessary to use the artificial flavors to bring the taste, and the very basic ingredients such as lime, basil leaves, lemon grass etc. can bring great flavors and freshness. I would recommend the team to do research on some natural ingredients which go very well in juices and mocktails, and, at the same time, these ingredients help in maintaining the overall freshness as well.
Again, the presentation was spectacular, and this dessert was simply irresistible. The sight of waffles topped with chocolate sauce and some fresh fruits such as apples, banana, and kiwi looked absolutely heavenly and scrumptious. The chef and the team presented it in a very sophisticated manner, and it looked like a high quality dish where the fresh fruits were further enhancing the flavors. However, the waffles were chewy and lacked the crispiness. I also felt that they were dry from inside, and I missed the crunchiness big time. It was a tad difficult for me to cut the waffle into pieces due to its hard texture. Something might went wrong in the preparation style; hence, in spite of its nice flavor and amazing presentation, the chewiness did not let us enjoy this dessert.
Once again, full marks to the presentation. This dessert served with the topping of banana and kiwi looked absolutely delicious and mouth watering. It also had the wonderful aroma of the caramel. The presentation did meet our expectations, and we liked the taste and flavors. Fortunately, I did not feel the taste of eggs which I experienced at most of the places serving caramel custard, and this one was giving more flavors in terms of caramel and custard. The overall taste was very good, and I was impressed; however, I did not like the consistency. In other words, I missed the smoothness in every bite as it had lumps in the texture. I expect a caramel custard to be very smooth, but it was missing over here. Still, I liked this dessert and the overall flavors.
Service and Ambiance: 3.5/5
For the time being, I would not like to comment on the service of The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe as this was a food tasting invitation. I would definitely give my rating to the service aspect based on the experience during my next visit.
Ambiance was good where the natural brightness gives you a soothing feeling. The minimalistic décor – not too flamboyant – was appealing in its own way, and it did make us feel good and relaxed the moment we entered The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe.
Value for money: 4/5
As this was a food tasting invitation, I would not like to comment much on the value for money aspect; however, the prices of the food items at The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe are quite reasonable in terms of the presentation and the overall taste. I did not find this place expensive in any way where all the food items except the drinks were quite good. Hence, 4 out of 5 in the value for money section.
As mentioned in the beginning, The Salad Bar & Walnut Cafe has lot of scope, and with few minor improvements, it will not be difficult for the team to attract the customers. I would love to visit this place again for their fresh salads and omelette which was absolutely amazing. Whenever I come to Inorbit mall going forward, I am glad that there is a healthy option now where we can eat and enjoy our food without any guilt. I wish this team all the best for this venture and thank you for the dining experience.
Here is my review on Zomato.
N.B. This was a food tasting invitation; hence, the meal was on the house.