In a time when Chennai is booming with restaurants, it’s not a big surprise that new and interesting kinds of places are popping up. In fact, it’s a welcoming sight to find restaurants of a different kind appearing all over the city. We’ve said it time and time again, Chennai is a growing city and part of the growing is the fact that we’re open to new cuisines and new modifications of familiar cuisines. Soul Garden Bistro is a brand new restaurant that’s opened in Alwarpet and it’s a combination of what you’re used to and something new, which is what makes the restaurant so endearing and inviting.
Started by Jignesh Pujara, Yeshwin Mathew and Tanish Thomas, this vegetarian fusion cuisine restaurant is special in its own way. The restaurant is a passion project in every sense, with comfortable outdoor and indoor seating that is both comfortable and well lit. So any time of the year you wish to show up, you’re going to be comfortable and happy with the way your time there is going. And that’s not all you’re going to be happy with, their menu is extensive. They’ve got everything from Italian classics like pasta and pizzas to sizzlers and burgers. And if that’s not all, they’ve also got great soups and a dessert bar attached, but we’ll come to that later.
We visited the restaurant on the day of the cyclone, so it was pouring down and the escape into Soul Garden Bistro was exactly what we needed. Tucked away on Ananda Street in Alwarpet, it’s far removed from the hustle and bustle of TTK Road, but still close enough that you don’t feel like you’re lost. And in this rain, hot comfort food is exactly what the doctor ordered. We got to meet with Jignesh and Yeshwin and had them recommend food for us to try, so brace yourself for the deliciousness you’re about to witness.
To start with
We started off with a warm and creamy Pumpkin Soup. It’s made from roasted pumpkin mixed with cream and served with garlic bread. The soup was the best way to start the wet and cold afternoon, that’s for sure.
Then we had the Zucchini Chips, which was dipped in panko crumbs and fried. And then served with two dips – a peri peri sauce and a garlic aioli. Eating it between mouthfuls of soup is highly recommended.
From the 196 Degrees Below counter, we were treated to a delicious drink made with saffron. It tastes a lot like an Indian sweet we couldn’t put our fingers on, but the cold drink was served in a flask that you’d find in a chemistry lab somewhere around the world. The Saffron Breezer is a must try for the adventurous and those who like saffron.
The main event
What’s really amazing about the restaurant is that their ingredients are fresh and with every bite, you can taste the freshness. The Tomato & Basil Sandwich was served with fries and the peri peri dip, but the sandwich was definitely the bigger focus of the meal. The basil paste tickles your senses and combines with the tomato flavour so well, you forget everything else.
They have a pretty solid list of thin crust pizzas that you can have and we got to try the Sundried Tomato Feta. This is the Soul Garden Bistro special and you will not be sorry once you eat it. It’s got everything from the famous basil sauce we mentioned earlier to delicious chunks of feta and solid pieces of sundried tomato to complete the pizza.
And of course no Italian meal is complete without a Lasagne! As the menu says, “it’s a stack of layered goodness” and that’s the truth. Every bite of food you put into your mouth is perfectly seasoned and coated with all the deliciousness you could want in a vegetarian lasagne.
The dessert lab
Part of Soul Garden Bistro is 196 Degrees Below, a dessert lab unlike any you’ve seen before. Liquid nitrogen is stores at -196 Degrees, which is where the dessert lab gets its name from. You can pick and choose your flavours and they will make you the ice cream of your choice. So how does it work? Pick your base of gelato, no sugar added or soy milk for vegans, then pick your ice cream flavour, add in some “throw-ins” and the dessert technician will mix it all together, adding liquid nitrogen to freeze it and make it into ice cream. Then you can get toppings of your choice and maybe even add a syringe of something, just because it looks so cool!196 Degrees Below, a dessert lab unlike any you’ve seen before. Liquid nitrogen is stores at -196 Degrees, which is where the dessert lab gets its name from. You can pick and choose your flavours and they will make you the ice cream of your choice. So how does it work? Pick your base of gelato, no sugar added or soy milk for vegans, then pick your ice cream flavour, add in some “throw-ins” and the dessert technician will mix it all together, adding liquid nitrogen to freeze it and make it into ice cream. Then you can get toppings of your choice and maybe even add a syringe of something, just because it looks so cool!
What did we have? We had the Chocolate Hazelnut with Brownies and a Nutella Syringe as well as a Black Chocolate with Ferro Rocher Premium. If you’re a fan of chocolate desserts, then one or both of these is what you need to get your hands on.
Soul Garden Bistro & 196 Degrees Below is located at 14, Ananda Road, Alwarpet. Call them at 044 30205505 for reservations and other information.