Unarguably Delhi’s most hip hotel, Andaz has changed the capital’s approach to luxury. Be it its staff in sneakers, the laid-back, unimposing setting, or a food hall with gourmet goodies on offer, there is a lot that makes Andaz cool. Now we can add one more thing to that list — its new restaurant, Soul Pantry. With mindful consumption at its heart, the restaurant seeks to present current F&B trends like locally sourced, and fresh and healthy on your plate.
A cosy space with its own entrance — you don’t have to go through the reception area — Soul Pantry’s menu is based on native ingredients, with a focus on grains. So one can choose from nutritional flatbreads, healthy bowls, fruit smoothies, and locally-sourced coffee and tea procured sustainable farms (there’s a retail space to buy the No. 3 Clive Road tea and Roasted Today Coffee).
The kitchen is led by Chef Kapil Chauhan (ex-Annamaya), who is invested in creating dishes and drinks that feed both the palate and the soul. A newsletter-style menu takes you through their offerings, detailing why you should go for a millet-base (or a barley or amaranth) flatbread. We tried most of these and found the dough to be soft and fluffy despite not being made of flour. The ingredients and flavours were fresh – you could easily tell it apart from the packaged variety we eat most of the time.
The Levantine flatbread with avocado, hummus, and fresh mint is a must-have, because if there was ever a healthy pizza, then this is it. While all the flatbreads hit the mark (a rare feat), the Creamy Mushroom and the Susegado with Pork Chorizo and local cheese are the other dishes you should definitely order. The Wellness Bowls will appeal to the health-conscious. We loved the Artisan Rice bowl, a take on the traditional Bengali jhal muri with puffed rice, peanuts, onion, tomatoes, and lime. Spiced like street food, the puffed rice retains its crispness and the dish easily circumvents chaat flavours. The chef’s special oven-roasted chicken is lightly spiced, and is to be ordered if only to taste the homemade dip that accompanies it.
The desserts are sweet flatbreads, with popular combinations like banana-chocolate, yoghurt and berries, and apple-vanilla. Not overtly sweet, these are healthier versions of decadent desserts, with a focus on fruit flavours. And even though we only tried the refreshing Cold Brew Lemonade — lemon and jaggery syrup in cold brew concentrate — the beverage section looks promising with yoghurt and fruit drinks.
Even though the menu is limited, its emphasis on natural foods makes Soul Pantry the kind of restaurant where you can binge without guilt. If looking for familiar flavours made in an innovative way, head here for a working lunch, or a brunch spent playing board games.
Where: Andaz hotel, Asset No. 1, Northern Access Road, Aerocity, New Delhi
Opening hours: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, all days
Recommended dishes: Levantine flatbread
Price: Rs 2,000 for two, inclusive of taxes
Noise level: Low
All images: Courtesy Soul Pantry