This is food that is committed to being good for your gut. A press release talks about appetising stuff — building good bacteria in our intestinal tracts. To this end, nothing comes out of a package at 212 All Good; even cola is homemade, a secret, all-natural recipe by beverage developer Tanai Shirali, that tastes good enough for thirds.
A three-page appendix details superfoods featured on the menu, from adzuki beans to yam, via groats and moringa, kraut and kabocha. Even the wood-laden room with warm lighting is filled with natural textures, distinct from the jagged artificiality of the mall around it.
The focus is on tasty, clean eating, but there are plenty of options for diets of every stripe.
Vegan Jain with no gluten? There are plates for you. A meal of carbs, meat, sugar and spice? There are options for you too.
Our medium-rare, well-seasoned lamb burger came on a bun made from sorghum, potato and tapioca flour, topped with addictive pickled onions and a cashew-chilli sauce. It was served alongside methi salad, tofu mayo, and fermented carrot ketchup. Get the house hot sauce; chilli-heads may want to eat it with a spoon.
There was an oddball salad on the menu that paired pear with smoked baingan. We expected to wince at first bite, but it was scaffolded smartly with walnuts, mozzarella and mixed greens, and glazed with a lush layer of kefir-spring onion dressing. Kefir is a fermented milk drink loaded with good bacteria, much like yogurt, or many fermented foods, and there are quite a few of these in 212AG’s kitchen.
Creamy, peppery, tofu mayo-coated chicken salad on gluten-free toast came with discs of lightly pickled tendli. The highlight in a dish of mushy, too-wet, under-seasoned polenta “twinkies” on miso-aubergine mash was the bright crunch of pickled carrot strings and the tartness of barnyard-y goat cheese (though there was too little of both).
And that’s how it was here. What worked was wonderful; what didn’t, disappointed deeply.
Pomfret poached in a tom yum broth was both delicate and assertive, a clever mix. But a portion of chilli chocolate lentils (made with whole masoor) merely sounded imaginative. It had neither heat nor the dark aroma of savoury cocoa. The honeyed cornbread that came alongside was the dish’s saving grace — crunchy, grainy, slightly sweet, satisfying.
Get at least one ‘milky’ drink. Orange, apricot, jaggery and yogurt blend into All Bones & Skin to delicious effect. Calm & Cleanse is pistachios, spinach a touch each of cardamom and palm sugar in oat “mylk”, a combination that sounds ridiculous, but is in fact ridiculously good.
About two-thirds into our meal, chef Paul Kinny passed by our table, recognised us, and asked if everything was okay. Service that was somewhat slow until then sped up immediately. Servers who knew more about the food showed up at our table. Despite this, we had no problem paying for the meal, with no discounts or freebies forced upon us, so it was all good.
What: 212 All Good
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Where: High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel
When: 9 am to midnight
Cost: About Rs 2,000 for a meal for two, without alcohol (full bar available)