Located within the bustling confines of the Oasis shopping center just off of Sheikh Zayed Road, the much-raved about Balance Café boasts a cuisine based on Ayurvedic concepts, yoga know-how and macrobiotic foods. While I was familiar with Ayurveda, I had never tried tried a meal based on its philosophy. Dubai is certainly in shortage of healthy eating venues especially those which offer dairy-free and gluten free options. But this café proposes to go beyond just the ingredients which we place into our meal to reveal an entirely new lifestyle of eating. This is made clear as soon as soon as one is seated and takes a look at the handy paper placement set before them explaining Ayurveda and how according to the concept, food is considered to consist of five elements essential to one’s vitality and health. I set forth to taste exactly how flavorsome and beneficial this philosophy purports to be.
The charming café cum restaurants is decorated in warm burnt-orange and yellow tones with a restaurant seating area in the front and a cozy cafe section in the back complete with plush sofas and soft lighting. Feeling at home and surprisingly far away from the shopping mall experience outside, I was soon greeted by friendly staff who further explained the concept. When presented in the right proportion, the five elements – namely, fire, air, space, water and earth, balance one’s physical and mental health. According to Ayurveda, one must ultimately seek to balance the five elements through the six tastes or rasas – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and ultimate wellbeing. The cafe has created five different menus in accordance with each element depending on what an individual needs. Guests seeking to follow a meal plan can consult Dr. George Chandy, Balance Wellness Club’s Ayurvedic consultant, to devise a menu according one’s predominant dosha of kapha, pitta or vatta, otherwise known as the tridosha or three energies in the body.
With all of this in mind, I perused the menu and asked the friendly staff for recommendations. I started off with an invigorating ginger and lemon tea while homemade focaccia bread was served with light and creamy yoghurt and basil dipping sauce. For the starter, I was presented with a zesty Tomato Coriander Soup, a dish otherwise known as shorba in India. Not too heavy on the spices, there was a bit of garlic, cumin and green coriander and it had a slightly pucker and tangy taste but was smooth, warm and inviting. For the main dish, I was brought Pan-Grilled Mustard Coated Cream Dory made with cherry tomato, spinach, onion, relish and tomato vinaigrette. The presentation of this dish was beautifully conceived and positioned so that the creamy dory lay elegantly on the bed of spinach and onions. Deliciously smooth and moist, the creamy dory had a wonderfully buttery consistency which was heightened by the freshly steamed vegetables which accompanied it.
The friendly server Pranav insisted that I try the cafe’s most popular dessert: Baked Yoghurt. Slightly crisp on the top in the manner of a crème brûlée, the dish was then smooth and moist but not too creamy on the inside. Sweet but not overpowering, a little raspberry colis in the center gave the tart a nice finishing touch. As my server explained, the dish is popular in Calcutta, in the East India, and is made from condensed milk and cream which is then left to bake in the oven.
One will certainly need to become a regular at Balance Café in order to see the results of an Ayurvedic diet. But after just one meal, I can say that this is wonderful healthy café merits many returns.
Balance Café, Oasis Center +971 45154051.