A plant base.
By Shradha Aswani
As the only meat eater in my family, a good time with my folks often means a nice meal at a veg-only restaurant. And so, when I got to visit a vegan outlet I could explore with them later, I was excited.
Founded as a delivery-only service by brothers Udit and Tarun Dhawan almost five years ago, the vision of Pranaa was simple – helping people adopt a healthy, plant-based lifestyle on a regular basis, without compromising on taste. “It all started when my father developed a heart condition,” Tarun tells me, across a royal high table that gave me a view of the entire restaurant. “Our household primarily switched to a vegetarian one, and we all experienced how the transition worked well for us, both physically and mentally. Over time, we realised it could be great business proposition and an encouragement for the community to go vegan, even if for just a few days in the week.”
“After the success of our lunch-box service that is popular across town, and the expansive a la carte menu available on our website, opening a sit-down space to give the concept a face, was the gradual next step,” Udit adds. He further dives into the brand’s collaboration with other vegan/vegetarian brands from time to time, featuring their dishes on Pranaa’s website, with an aim to unite in the cause of reducing animal product consumption in order to preserve the environment.
LOOK AND FEEL
Knowing that Pranaa literally translated to ‘life-force’ in Sanskrit, I was expecting to walk into what my mom describes as a satvik vibe, hoping to see the yogic temperament personify itself. What I found instead was a chic, urban café nestled in busy Sukhumvit. The seating was spacious, with running themes of green and brown, aesthetically done, because God knows those colours can go wrong in more ways than one. Glass walls let ample light into the place, much to the benefit of indoor plants that lined the centre. A beverage counter staged itself in a corner, next to shelves of plan-based products, including a range of dips, sauces, kombuchas, protein snacks and more.
FOOD AND DRINK
Surprised by the volume of their menu covering a diverse range of cuisines, including Western, Thai, Indian, and Asian, my colleagues and I left the choice of what we should sample on the founders. They ordered us a feast consisting of appetisers, mains, and desserts, with refreshing drinks to go with them, whilst telling us about how their menu keeps updating from time to time. The most recent addition to their offerings is their ‘Build your own bowl’ service, that allows customers to customize their dishes with specific ingredients, giving them a calorie count of each of their picks. We were discussing the haven this space is for the health conscious, when we are greeted by warm staff members bringing delicious treats to our table, and dictated by norm, the arrival of food pushes all conversation to the back seat.
We started off with the KFC – Korean fried cauliflower (THB 180), a veg version of the Korean fried chicken. The batter-fried cauliflower, sautéed in gochujang sauce and served with a tangy ranch sauce, packed a punch. The Vegan maki roll (THB 220) followed next, its flavourful avocado and mushroom center perfectly seasoned with sriracha mayonnaise and sesame seeds.
Their eggplant dishes, the Eggplant bharta toast (THB 140) made with sourdough bread from Holey Bakery as its base, and the Eggplant shakshuka with garlic bread (THB 240) that served a delicious amalgamation of chickpeas and vegan feta cheese, were both interesting derivations worth trying out.
For those of you who believe in starting a meal out with a salad instead of starters, or want to order a garden salad yourself so that you can dig into your partner’s plate later, the menu offered a range of options. The Avocado quinoa bean salad (THB 200) that we got to sample had the ideal blend of fibre and proteins, making it filling enough to be had as a stand-alone meal.
The Kale spaghetti pesto (THB 260), kickstarted the main course, letting us dive into the goodness of well-made pasta, without worrying about feeling bloated later, the nutty flavor of pesto complemented the crunch of kale, and they together formed a great combo. Next on the list was a treat to pamper my Indian palette, Palak tofuneer (THB 180), with tofu replacing paneer in the classic recipe.
The fresh Green detox juice drink (THB 120) accompanying the meals was a blend of cucumber, celery, green apple, basil, and spinach, great to leave you refreshed for the evening. The rejuvenating Beetroot blast juice (THB 120), with its mix of apple, carrots, and just a hint of ginger, turned out to be great for the anaemic person that I am. Alternatively, you could go for their coffee, available with three plant-based milk options, along with a variety of other drinks and smoothies. We concluded the meal with beautifully plated Lemon cashew cheesecake (THB 180) that brings in the best of oats, almonds, dates, and cashews, of course; made with soy milk to keep it light on the stomach.
If you have a sweet tooth like mine, the Snicker bar (THB 140) will leave you craving more. A delectable mix of oats, peanut butter, cashew nuts, with cacao butter and powder, all brought together with a zesty twist of lemon and coconut oil. All without the guilt of digging into a plate full of dessert all by yourself.
PRANAA FOOD FOR LIFE
G-05, Tower A, Executive Residences,
39 Boulevard, 41 Soi Phrom Chit,
Khlong Tan Nuea,
Watthana, Bangkok 10110
Open on Wednesdays to Mondays from 11am to 9.30pm
Tel: 086 029 9296