Being vegetarian can often decide holiday destinations. But for Shraddha Bhansali, founder of Candy & Green, it hasn't ruled her vacation picks. Her experiences in the villages of China and Iceland, relishing their vegetarian cuisine, have shaped the idea of Candy & Green, an ingredient-centric clean-eating vegetarian all-day restaurant and bar in Mumbai that she started in 2017.
While at Boston University, studying hospitality and business between 2010 and 2014, the local surge in veganism fascinated her, as she observed how chefs treated their vegetables and fruits: "It was like how a butcher treats his meat; with utmost care." However, it was only after meeting an urban farmer in Mumbai that the idea of a rooftop farm was added to the mix. On the 400-sq ft terrace plot that she leased in Breach Candy, her staff grows microgreens like peppermint and Thailand grass.
Candy & Green isn't as much about healthy food as it is about clean eating. "We don't shy away from indulgent dishes, but the ingredients are consciously sourced," says Bhansali. Started with money from her family, the restaurant decides on the menu based on seasonal ingredients, and after tasting sessions with insiders and industry experts.
It's difficult to make vegetarian food exciting, and to do that under one year, is a check-box ticked twice, says Nikhil Merchant, food writer and restaurateur. "She has set a precedent for others."
Bhansali has plans to set up a casual version of the restaurant, which will allow her to halve prices.
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