The Yoga House Offers A Sin-Free Way of Life
“The beach must be close”. That’s the first thought that crossed our minds after we walked into The Yoga House, half expecting to find sand under our bare feet (they ask you to remove your shoes at the door). If you’re familiar with Chimbai, the old fishing village in Bandra where this yoga studio and café opened last week, you’d know that the beach is indeed close, even if not within viewing distance. The Yoga House, with its sunny wooden deck, teal walls, rustic lanterns and billowing white curtains, looks like it belongs on a beach in Goa. The wait staff serves you at what can only be described as a Susegad pace.
Neither Ajit Tapaswi nor Maud Chuffart, who own and run the studio and café’, hail from Goa. Tapaswi is a model and yoga instructor from Uttar Pradesh. Chuffart is a former PR professional from Paris, who gave up her job and moved to India to teach yoga. The couple wanted to start a “wellness” centre in Mumbai and found the perfect spot in a two-storeyed bungalow in Chimbai. They rented out the ground floor of the bungalow to start The Yoga House, which is sectioned into an al fresco café, a reception-plus-shop area, a kitchen, and a yoga studio that can accommodate five people at a time. There, three instructors trained in Iyengar, Ashtanga and Hatha yoga conduct classes in a sparse-looking room with a wooden floor and no mirrors or windows.
Tapaswi and Chuffart, who decorated The Yoga House themselves, are multitaskers. They oversee the cooking at the café and conduct a few of the daily yoga lessons. They also designed a capsule clothing line of cotton shirts for men and dresses and tops for women, which they retail at the store, where you can buy organic pulses, honey, soaps, spring water, cosmetics, earthen chai pots and tin and copper cutlery. That’s not to say that they haven’t had any help along the way. American author and chef Christopher James Clark, who specialises in macrobiotic cooking, devised the café menu. The food is thus where the resemblance between establishments in Goa and The Yoga House ends.
Despite its proximity to the sea, The Yoga House serves only vegetarian fare cooked in coconut oil and sugarless desserts. The fresh fruit juices are served as shots for Rs50 each or by the glass for a pricey Rs250 each. We tried the Pink (pomegranate, rose and watermelon), which was fresh and invigorating, and the Summer (mango, date and fresh mint), which was bland and pulpy with no hint of mint. The food menu comprises soups, salads, sandwiches and “grains” (instead of mains), with just two options under each section.
The fig salad with sesame olive oil and lemon dressing sounded wholesome and inviting on paper. What we got served was a large but all-too-dry bowl of grated carrots, alfalfa sprouts, parsley, coriander, mint and purple cabbage. The promised fig was a mere quarter of the fruit diced into negligible squares and the dressing though adequately tangy wasn’t enough to coat the whole salad. The millet quinoa burger, however, was a pleasant surprise. The soft patty, made of quinoa and millet, did not have a trace of oil and was served in a multi-grain bun smeared with hummus. And while millet and quinoa are certainly no substitutes for meat, they’re inventive alternatives to tofu and paneer.
The roasted vegetable sandwich made with herb-roasted peppers, aubergine, zucchini and pesto, was toasted to crispy perfection and was just as appetising as the burger. From the grains, we vetoed the tofu and wild rice in favour of the sautéed mushrooms and buckwheat, which though light on the palate and the tummy, wouldn’t have sufficed for either lunch or dinner had we ordered just that dish alone. For dessert, we ordered the sugarless apple pie, which had a grainy homemade texture and slices of cinnamon-dusted apples with no top layer of crust. Even though it felt less decadent than regular apple pie, it was no less comforting.
A meal at The Yoga House, where the food smacks of health, seems ideal when you’re overcome with guilt after a night or week of immodest eating and drinking. However, we’re not so sure if we can make a daily habit of this sin-free yogic diet.
A meal for two costs approximately Rs1,000. All reviews are conducted anonymously.Tags: Ajit Tapaswi, Cafe, Maud Chuffart, restaurant review, restaurant reviews, The Yoga House
The Yoga House
Location53 Chimbai Road
Behind St. Andrew's Church
HoursMonday to Friday, 8am to 9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 11pm