There was a time, not so long ago, when you ate a salad only as an act of contrition or because you needed to lose weight. Salads weren’t fun; they were punishment.
That changed with the arrival of the deli and the introduction of cool, new ingredients and colourful presentations. It was only a matter of time before salads moved from being an item on the menu, to being the item on the menu.
Ministry of Salads (MoS) is riding this wave of rediscovery.
They’re doing a decent job of it. Potted plants, chequered floor tiles, framed black and white posters that read ‘If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen’ give the small salad bar a cosy vibe. Two refrigerated glass displays filled with bowls of salad ingredients dominate the room. Lining the wall opposite are three two-seater tables.
You can order at the counter or at your table – the small space means the service is prompt and friendly. However, once it fills up, getting a table is not easy so it might be better to pack your order rather than wait.
The portions are generous and you can easily make a meal of your salad. Our colourful egg Caesar, the only non-vegetarian salad on the menu, is a heaped bowl of salad leaves, micro greens, crunchy croutons and quartered boiled eggs with a thick creamy dressing. MoS also offers sandwiches and wraps. The pesto-wich, with caprese salad-like filling of sliced tomato and fresh buffalo mozzarella is a tad salty, but light and filling.
Our drinks - the lemongrass, spinach, ginger and apple and the green apple, carrot, lemon and honey - are each intelligent, well balanced combinations, thinner than you would imagine but less sweet than other health drinks we’ve tasted.
MoS does a competent job when it comes to the pre-decided combinations. It enters dangerous territory when it comes to the layered, make-your-own-salad option. Salads are delicate creatures unlike sandwiches, or noodles and rice - there are no carbs or starch to absorb and balance extra and mismatched flavours. More is not better. The make-your-own-salad has too many choices, and this Subway-like options of multiple dressings is a recipe for disaster, which is what happened with the one we chose to make. The flavours were all over the place, and we ended up with something that was mostly inedible. The sriracha mayo dressing was too sharp, the pickled mango too tart and the mature yellow cheese didn’t have the heft to pull things together.
MoS hasn’t figured out their ventilation system, so whenever a sandwich is being grilled or ingredients are being roasted, the room gets unpleasantly smoky.
There were no desserts on the menu so we ended the meal with a thick, sweet nutella and hazelnut smoothie. It turned out to be the perfect end to a light and refreshing meal.
WHAT: Ministry of Salads
WHERE: Shop No 4, Nainik Niwas, opp Tata garden, Bhulabhai Desai Road
TIMING: 1 pm - 10 pm
COST: Rs 1,500 for two
CALL: 97698-23777/ 97698-02777
The author tweets at @chezantoine