If there’s a phrase guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of gastronomes everywhere, it’s “health food". Couched in those seemingly harmless words are visions of dry toast, phlegmy chia pudding and bowls of Peruvian quinoa that cost a month’s salary. It’s probably why 212 All Good doesn’t want to be lumped with its more suspect brethren.

And it shouldn’t. Because somewhere in this cheery 50-seater, tucked away under an escalator at Phoenix Mills, Mumbai, chefs and bartenders are working a curious alchemy. Unafraid of going where no restaurant in the city has gone before, 212 All Good has a razor focus on homegrown produce and on making as much as possible in house, from scratch.

Ask for a coke and instead you’ll be offered home-made cola. The brainchild of beverage and cocktail developer Tanai Shirali, it’s a secret infusion of raw sugar caramel, palm jaggery and mysterious herbs that smell like afternoon rides past the Dukes factory. The house-fizzed soda and tonic also find their way into the bar, where they mingle with infused gins—masala, mulberry, hibiscus and black pepper and bhavnagri chilli—and house-steeped bitters. The result is G&Ts that are light on their feet and lighter on your palate, fragrant without bludgeoning your taste buds.

“The food philosophy," chef Moina Oberoi, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, “is to create things that are good for your gut, something that makes you feel good after eating it." Her passion for pickling and fermentation finds expression in the menu in unusual ways. Breakfast is five kinds of granola and fruit clusters, served with kefir, a probiotic milk drink made from symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts. Gluten free toast gets a slathering of wicked dark chocolate from Kerala and jaggery caramel, while its savoury cousin comes with a beetroot hummus and pickled beets, possibly the best thing on the menu. In the mains, the gluten free burgers are served with fermented carrot ketchup and tofu mayo and a really innovative pad thai replaces the noodles with strips of carrot and tender coconut flesh.

Not everything works, though. The lack of tangy ketchup and barbecue sauce means that the chicken wings lack the punchiness that is their essence. And some dishes tend to err on the sweeter side, which render them rather one-note. But overall, the food never sacrifices taste for health, and everything you eat and drink is imbued with such an exuberant spirit of experimentation, it reclaims “health food" from its dark, dreary depths.

A meal for two, with two cocktails, two appetizers and two main courses costs around 2,000, plus taxes.

Ground Floor Grand Galleria, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. For reservations, call +91 22 6221 6020.

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