Vedge, Andheri: Can Vegetarian Food Be Trendy?

Our statements on vegetarians in the past may have well gotten us put on some secret government watch list, which is not far-fetched, given our current government’s priorities. But we’ve made sincere efforts to reach across the isle by giving vegetarians the one thing they want the most, attention. Vegetarian food is many things, it’s environmentally friendly, full of vitamins, & it technically is food. But there is one thing that it is not, and that is cool, at least according to everyone who works at The Bombay Report, which is technically the best restaurant review blog in the country; and we have a plastic trophy to prove it.

Our article on Maharaja Bhog proved beyond reasonable doubt that vegetarian food can be good, and our review of Wild Dining, proved it can also be fun, but those don’t count because they serve fairly authentic Indian food, and are a result of thousands of years of perfecting an otherwise very imperfect idea. We were looking at something entirely different, something a bit more contemporary, a place that you and your trendy Jain buddies could go to after a hard day’s ‘work’ at your dad’s ‘import-export’ business. A place that took the cuisines of the world and altered them to fit your unique and unnatural dietary requirements. And we found it. Its name was American Joint, and it was so terrible we decided to suspend the idea for at least six months, which brings us to right here, right now.

For some time now, we’ve been eying a place called Vedge, a hip and upbeat vegetarian restaurant at the heart of Lokhandwala’s most exciting hangout destination, Fun Republic. We were promised that their exclusively vegetarian and vegan food wouldn’t just be edible, but also very cool. Not wanting to pass on the opportunity, we decided to pay them a visit before an unsolicited Curly Tales video made it positively uncool.

It has a generically modern interior, with exposed, overhead pipes, and bulbs hanging from the bare, grey ceiling. They play quite possibly the worst music ever made, with what sounded like the demo music you hear playing on the TVs at Croma. They do have a projector connected to satellite TV, but the staff would much rather play reruns of an India v. Afghanistan test cricket match over a live  FIFA World Cup game; which makes sense because test cricket fans are the vegetarians of sports.

The menu at Vedge starts with a long & unnecessary essay about their legacy, which is wishful thinking considering it was only established in 2014. However, we still enjoyed it because they unironically used phrases like ‘young, trendy vegetarian diner’ and ‘#GoVedge’. We weren’t quite sure what to order because we’re unaccustomed to the subtle nuances in vegetarian cuisine, like the difference between paneer and tofu, which is why we asked our waiter to help us out.

Fully Loaded Nachos

Rs. 435

The Fully Loaded Nachos at Vedge weren’t really nachos so much as long tortilla strips arranged like a bonfire and doused in cheese sauce. It reminded us a lot of the nachos at Bombay Blue, a place which is gone, but not forgotten. At the bottom is a Mexican kidney bean paste, better known to people from Andheri as Rajma. Overall, we’d have to say it was quite a good start to a place we were rather skeptical about, even though it was a bit more expensive than we’d have liked.

Animal Style Fries

Rs. 310

The Animal Style Fries at Vedge gave us a false sense of hope. We thought we were going to be getting fries with some awesome cheese dip, and like the menu said, their top-secret animal sauce. What we got instead was just bad, simple readymade frozen French fries, topped with a cheese slice(what?) and doused in an overly garlicky paste. We don’t really believe there’s anything such as too much garlic, but it was just too strong for us to handle. If we’re being honest, if you’re going to charge someone more than 300 bucks for a plate of fries, the least you can do is make them yourself.

Paneer In Black Bean Sauce

Rs. 340

The Paneer In Black Bean Sauce is apparently Vedge’s most popular food item, and we can understand why. The paneer wasn’t fresh and delicate like we’re used to, but had a certain chewy meatiness to it, and tasted like it was halfway through the process of turning into actual cheese. This could’ve been a generic Chinese paneer dish, but the flavour & texture of the young cheese, the salty spicy black bean sauce and the final sprinkling of toasted black sesame made it a winner.

The Decree: Vedge is certainly flawed and is somewhere between average and below average, but we’re judging them through the lens of an organization that’s been corrupted by the taste of flesh. As far as internationally themed vegetarian food goes, it really wasn’t all that bad, even though it really was quite expensive. It may very well be the best at what it does, even if what it does turns us off completely. So should you go there? If you’re vegetarian, yes. If you aren’t, you might not want to; either way, it’s very trendy.

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