What a body massage and sumptuous meal can do to you
An hour of luxurious warm herbal oil massage by two masseurs, and steaming hot water bath rounded off with a 26-dish sathvik south Indian lunch is an experience offered by the Sanjeevanam outlet here and in Bangalore.
Chennai: An hour of luxurious warm herbal oil massage by two masseurs, and steaming hot water bath rounded off with a 26-dish sathvik south Indian lunch is an experience offered by the Sanjeevanam outlet here and in Bangalore.
One would walk out of the Sanjeevanam centre here feeling light as if the body has lost a couple of kilos - despite a sumptuous Rajakeeyam lunch.
"What is unique about our dishes is that we do not use tamarind, red chilli powder, maida, sugar (for sweets and beverages) artificial flavours or preservatives. However, the dishes would taste similar to the usual ones," Murugan V., senior manager-operations, told IANS.
Sanjeevanam outlets also offer ayurvedic therapy, cosmetology, naturopathy and a store vending products like natural beverages, rice, powders and other things.
"Ours is not a spa but an ayurvedic therapy centre offering consultation and treatment for varied ailments. We also offer rejuvenation massage," Rajesh B., senior medical officer, told IANS.
Leading the way to the 100-cover restaurant, Rajesh said it is wrong to think that all ayurvedic treatments are of long duration. There are ayurvedic drugs that offer quick relief for pains and other ailments.
Part of the AVA Group, the makers of the Medimix range of toiletries, the Sanjeevanam chain consists of five centres - three here and one each in Bangalore and Ernakulam in Kerala.
"But the restaurant is there in only two centres - Nungambakkam High Road (here) and in Bangalore," Murugan said offering the tasters portions of starters - pepper tofu.
The spicy tofu not only activated the taste buds but also the brain that was floating in a different world after an hour of synchronised four-handed massage.
A cursory look at the menu showed that the restaurant offers South Indian fare like rice meals, idli, dosa and others as well as rotis, naans, parathas, tikkas (mushroom, paneer, baby corn), fried rice, baby corn tofu/gobi manchurian and others.
The restaurant revolves on its seven principles like non-usage of refrigerators for storing cooked food, tamarind, red chilli powder, maida, sugar (for sweets and beverages) and others.
"We use a little oil in our dishes and we do not offer deep-fried items," Murugan said when the mushroom tikka arrived at the table.
The tasty and succulent big-sized button mushrooms soon started rolling down the throat.
The tasty but less spicy biryanis - mushroom/Sanjeevanam - did not leave any signs of oil on the fingers.
Speaking of the challenges, Murugan said: "Food is always freshly cooked and has to be exhausted soon as we do not reheat or use preservatives. That is one of the reasons why we cannot have a centralised kitchen to supply various branches," he explained.
"Instead of tamarind we use tomatoes and mangoes to arrive at the comparable taste. In our gobi manchurian we use arrowroot flour instead of maida. Similarly in sweets, sugar also facilitates bonding of ingredients. One has to look at alternatives like palm candy and also cook carefully so that the bonding happens without disintegration," he said.
"Though our model is not suitable for opening a counter in software parks, we offer outdoor catering to corporates," Murugan said.
It was then time for the Rajakeeyam - the restaurant's flagship offering - the 26-dish lunch on a big banana leaf.
The first of the 26 items was the banana slice with some grated coconut followed by four liquid appetisers - date juice, nuts and milk, Haritha butter milk and bran rice-water which the server suggested be taken in that order.
"This would open up the taste buds and make you ready for the other dishes," Murugan said.
The liquids were followed by four rows of four uncooked (puttu and vegetable salad items); semi-cooked and fully cooked vegetable dishes - all to be taken sequentially from left to right.
No other restaurant would offer a dozen different vegetables in one meal, Murugan said - and this sounded true.
"The sequence of serving the dishes and their consumption is mainly to enhance their digestion and the absorption of the nutrients as suggested by our doctors when the lunch was drawn up," Murugan said.
The main course consisted of red and white rice with dal, sambar, rasam and buttermilk.
For the sweet tooth there was payasam, followed by a couple of teaspoons of honey served on the palm to be licked. The last item was the beeda/pan.
Murugan said one more outlet would come up in Kerala where the group is putting up a 100-bed ayurvedic health centre.
* The rejuvenation massage is priced at Rs.1,500 and Rajakeeyam lunch is Rs.385. There is no combo offer available.