This year has got off to a hectic and exciting start as Simon & I continue to meet & write about some interesting foodies in USA & UK. #Veganuary may have come & gone but lots of people are interested in reducing their meat intake (#meatfreemonday), embracing a healthier lifestyle and the number of people becoming #Vegetarian or #Vegan continues to grow globally. My foodie friend Meredith (www.foodatheart.co.uk) mentioned the Ahimsa Vegan Cafe in Pinner, my local village, as she is supplying them with her handmade vegan chocolates. So I had to go and check it out.
I met JayJay (Jayshree), one of the 4 partners ( along with main partner Vijay, and other partners Mita & Rajshri) who met at a local meditation group. The name Ahimsa, is a Sanskrit word meaning non-violence. The inspiration behind the cafe is the spiritual guide Mohanji, whose picture sits proudly above the door. Whilst on his travels raising awareness he could not find suitable and reasonable places serving vegan food. The Ahimsa team took this on board and also share a philosophy of having an awareness of life, connecting with their surroundings, being compassionate and showing kindness to all living beings. Together with a chef from the Hilton Group and Indian chef, writer & entrepreneur Anuradha Sawney devising the menu the team have developed the concept of a vegan cafe to provide tasty, healthy fast food in an accessible affordable way. The first cafe opened in Shirdi, about 2 hours drive from Mumbai, India in May 2016 with Ahimsa Pinner opening on 20 December, 2016 to great local excitement. My good friends’ daughter Maisie was one of them, having become a vegan 2 years ago, and now has a local hangout on her doorstep.
So what about the food? I visited for lunch, choosing a home made falafel, hummus and salad wrap which was adeptly prepared whilst I waited . A good combination of crisp, crunchy salad and tasty , herby falafel with hummus & tangy tomato salsa.
The cafe was busy with the lunchtime rush so JayJay suggested I come back for an interview early morning whilst the team are preparing for lunch, as everything is made fresh each day.
I watched as she made fresh carrot, beetroot & ginger juice (picture, below left) and also celery, green apple, cucumber & lime juice (picture, below right) which both looked good so I had to taste both – and they did!
I also sampled a homemade date and polenta chocolate brownie- indulgent & chocolatey & a blueberry muffin – a fruity sweet treat. The cafe has just started opening for breakfast at 09.00 until 18.00 for all day dining – mid morning drinks & cake, lunch, afternoon tea & early supper. I enjoyed meeting JayJay and the team for some tasty vegan food and warm hospitable customer service. Ahimsa, the Vegan Cafe is a welcome addition to Pinner.