Chef Vivek Kashiwale reveals why he decided to introduce a new healthy options menu at Mint Leaf of London, DIFC
Why have you launched a new healthy options menu?
Since opening in late 2014, we have noticed a steady change in how people eat. Our patrons are more health conscious now and are demanding more in terms of health benefits, but of course they don’t want to sacrifice taste either. We have always been flexible, producing off-menu items for those with allergies or specific dietary requirements and we have noticed a steady increase in people requesting healthier dishes to match their lifestyles. We therefore decided the time had come for Mint Leaf Dubai to adapt by offering healthy options on our à la carte menu.
What items does the new healthy menu consist of?
There is a wide range of dishes available, from grilled Chilean seabass to quinoa biryani, quinoa crusted black pepper vegetable seekh kebabs and coconut and lime leaf prawns. There are starters, main courses and desserts with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The menu is designed to include healthy ingredients without compromising on taste.
What is your hero dish?
The fisherman’s prawns are the star item on the healthy options menu and this happens to be the healthiest too. It consists of prawns gently poached in lime leaf and a coconut milk-based sauce. We don’t use any dried or powdered ingredients, and everything is low calorie and sourced fresh.
What is the best gluten-free option you offer?
I would say either the aloo chaat – crispy baby potatoes tossed with sweet yoghurt and tamarind sauce, topped with gram flour vermicelli – or the Chilean seabass moilee tossed with exotic vegetables. It really depends on what kind of flavours you like.
How will you continue to evolve the menu over the next 12 months?
We are continuously taking on board feedback and suggestions from our guests, and steadily adding healthier options to our menu based on what off-menu dishes are ordered regularly and what demand we are seeing in the restaurant. We are hoping over the next few months to have an equal number of healthy options and regular menu items and we’re certainly on track to achieve this.
Please share one of your tips of the trade for budding chefs in the industry:
Start with classic recipes and master them. The basics are everything in cooking: once you understand and have mastered the basics, that’s when you should start to experiment and fuse them with new ingredients, techniques or trends.