Imagine, for a moment, that you’re not a foodie. Imagine that you’ve gone on a — brace for it — diet, and have to manage as close to a balanced mix of nutrients per day as you can, without gagging. One of Chennai’s newer pick-me-ups has got you covered. When you walk in on this first-floor property in Anna Nagar, The Smoothie Bar looks like any other city café: with an open counter, bright interiors, and what looks like an already-loyal set of customers. A closer inspection, however, shows that the blender takes pride of place instead of the coffee machine behind the counter. The loyal set of customers is clearly on their way back from the gym. The Smoothie Bar is clearly and deliberately positioned as a health hangout.
For an offering as limited as smoothies, juices and a few light eats, the menu is impressively vast. The smoothies come in a wide variety of bases, from banana to chocolate to all-greens, and has been designed with the help of nutritionists to cater to different workout and diet regimen needs.
The range is formidable, and the offerings as delicious as can be expected from a place that doesn’t let refined sugar so much as enter the kitchen. While some recipes use palm sugar, most use wholesome ingredients like banana, tender coconut, dates — and in some cases, peanut butter — as sweeteners. As far as taste goes, Choconut, Euphoria and Nutty Affair are clear winners, while Nirvana tastes likes a shot of something extremely healthy that your mom would force you to drink when you’re sick. The juices are as varied as the smoothies, from a Green Flush with cucumber, spinach, bitter gourd and more, to a citrus-y bolt of orange and tender coconut. In terms of nutrition, the array of recipes caters to a variety of needs, so don’t walk in with the assumption that anything you order will keep weight gain at bay. Twilight, made predominantly of peanut butter and banana, for instance, is not likely to do that, but would work for someone whose diet plan has a different kind of target.
The menu — especially in the juice sections — is too free with declarations like “stave off cancer” and “Alzheimer’s and depression, you’re going Down!” These are clearly not meant to be taken seriously; all you’re getting on a platter here are drinks, not physical and mental health miracles.
Credit must be given for staying away from any kind of decorative ingredient, across a menu spanning 22 smoothies and 26 fresh, cold-pressed juices. If you like your smoothies with a dollop of ice cream, this is not the place for you.
What we can say for sure, however, is that as far as the basic requirements of diet plans go, The Smoothie Bar offers you some guilt-free indulgence. There are also not-so-healthy offerings like burgers and croissants, delicious enough to make that friend who’s cynical of your healthy habits stay and give you company anyway.