Born of two fitness enthusiasts’ idea that a healthy diet shouldn’t be just a fad but a sustainable and balanced way of living is Bandra’s latest culinary offering, True Fit Gourmet.
As you walk through the winding heart of Bandra, nestled away into a quaint corner opposite the tourist favourite mural of Irrfan Khan, you will stumble across True Fit Gourmet. An artisanal café and healthy eating bistro that fits right into the picturesque locality behind St.Peter’s Church, with a green canopy heralding one in through the old wooden gates into a reimagined space. Dipti Gohel and Atil Pavesha’s café is “more than a healthy brand, it’s a sustainable and a consciously-curated lifestyle.”
Sitting across from me is Dipti Gohel, a seasoned horse rider whose healthy lifestyle is reflected in the form of True Fit Gourmet. “Assuming that when you are living a healthier lifestyle which includes workouts and physical movements, nourishing the body is undoubtedly very important. Protein is important. All of that stuff is very important. However, if you’re not following a very exercise-driven routine, it’s crucial to eat a balanced diet. When I say a balanced diet, I mean just enough proteins, just enough carbs, just enough fibre and the right fats. That’s it. The brand in general was created under this logic and the thought process of the plate method.”
One of my favourite Oh Wonder song plays softly over the chatter of couples through the warmly lit, sun-facing space that is True Fit Gourmet, an at-home atmosphere for a guest to be a part of. I asked the duo about the cosy cottage-core essence of the café and the design behind it. The ambience is every bit a plant lover’s paradise with vines climbing the rustic walls and logs placed across the wall by the founders themselves. An intricately done wooden chandelier opens up across the ceiling in an innovative branching design. Imagine a culmination of the right amount of woodwork and greens, against a suave black theme. Whether it’s to catch up on work over a coffee or on for the sweetness of a first date, the cosy little interior of True Fit Gourmet assures the warmth of an afternoon of delight. To put it in the words of the founders, “Whoever walks in, I want them to get a feeling like they got transferred to some other space when they came inside. And honestly, the biggest compliment for us is when they want to sit here when they want to keep coming back here.”
A smoked cinnamon cappuccino greets me, with a plume of smoke slowly fading as the lid of the drink is lifted; a beautiful touch of showmanship for a coffee. True Fit Gourmet’s one-half Atil Pavesha is a coffee enthusiast who translates his passion through the artisanal coffee that the café has to offer, keeping in mind its policy of healthy living. “Coffee isn’t simply a routine for most people, it’s a culture. So, what we do is we take care of the best beans by sourcing the best Arabica with speciality grade, cup scores and good flavours. What we actually also do is try to give you experiential coffee. We do a lot of basic coffees that people are used to and that are known like cappuccinos, lattes and blacks. But we also do a lot of experiential coffee in terms of infusing natural flavours like cinnamon, hazelnut, vanilla, and all of that. Hazelnuts will be your real hazelnut, chocolate will be your real chocolates, vanilla is from Madagascar and so on. By infusing all these natural flavours with cinnamon, smoke, and all of that and giving you a more experiential journey with coffee to tell people that it doesn’t have to be sugar-loaded and syrupy for it to be flavoured. It has to be just natural with natural ingredients. That’s what the True Fit Gourmet does with coffee.”
As an enthusiast of good artisanal coffee myself, the cup of goodness with light smoky tones of cinnamon and just the right amount of sweetness was a pleasant surprise to the palette. One could spend a pleasant evening overlooking the antique streets of Bandra pairing the ambience of the café with just a hot coffee and book for company.
True fit Gourmet’s vast and detailed menu is like leafing through a never-ending list of delights that wave the banner of health. As I tuck into the ginormous pulled chicken sandwich, fireworks of creamy tanginess fill my mouth. A heavy meal for one and yet, when I ask Dipti the total calories of the meal, she replies with a meagre sum of 300kcal. It’s hard to believe how they do it but maybe the fact that the sauce used is a protein-rich low-cal tofu mayonnaise has something to do with it. Such is the craft of True Fit Gourmet, using naturally sourced products to add contemporary healthy twists and providing a curated gourmet experience.“ I won’t say that my food does not have cheese. My food has cheese from the right regions that is not processed, which is very crucial. So, we’ve always focused on the quality of the ingredients as we are into global sourcing.. Because at the end of the day, I think ingredients are the biggest heroes. More than just being globally sourced, the idea is that the output, the product that we’re creating for you, is balanced. Every ingredient genuinely just talks about itself. And yet when you take the first bite, there’s a beautiful mixture of food happening there.”
The cafe aims to curate based on personal experience, “Is this going to hurt me in the long run? If it’s not, that means my consumer can eat it. Like will I eat this? If it’s a yes, then the consumer has it,” is what Dipti Gohel believes when it comes to sorting the menu. Hence, setting the benchmark for True Fit Gourmet. The charm of the café extends to its health-based food, for a guilt-free café experience as she rightly says,” We want you to come here and do what you’re doing exactly. At the same time, enjoy the food that’s in front of you. We want it real. Comforting, cosy, welcoming, all of that. So, it’s basically the kind of cafe I would want to hang out at. Without really feeling bad about what I was consuming. Like most of the time before I had this place, if I went to a cafe, I would constantly be thinking, ‘Should I eat at a cafe? How am I going to feel at the end of the day?’” Well, I for one would certainly want to spend another afternoon sipping on an experiential artisanal coffee basking in the light of the afternoon sun and not feel guilty about what I’m putting into my body. An afternoon that ticks all the boxes of a café experience, fulfilling both rites of luxury and health at True Fit Gourmet.
Hero and Feature image: Courtesy True Fit Gourmet.