Every time we order food, my nonagenarian grandmother looks at all the plastic that comes in and comments about how hygienic it would be to use banana leaves instead. “Not only hygienic but also so much better for the environment,” she often says. “What is the point of segregating your waste so well if you just have to end up with so much plastic?”
A woman in her 90s finds that a valid question. I wonder where and when we went wrong in the interim.
But, people are now getting more conscious about the environment. And following are four restaurants in Chennai that are paving the green way by adopting a cleaner and greener way of working.
Love fried papad with your meal, why not try something different for a change? Try red rice papad – the perfect accompaniment to all your home-cooked meals.
1. Ka Organic
Having started operations in 2016, this restaurant in Besant Nagar has been promoting eco-friendly dining since its inception. Organic South Indian food is served on plates made of leaves and if you want a take-away then a steel box or aluminium one is provided. The restaurant charges a minimum amount for the steel boxes, which can be refunded when the box is returned.
Anita Rajgopalan, one of the promoters of the restaurant, in this report said, “The idea behind starting the restaurant was to provide an option to the people, where they can get completely organic, nutritious and eco-friendly food.”
As the food served here is organic, packing it in plastic lowers its nutritional value. While this was difficult to explain to customers in the beginning, it has now become the restaurant’s USP.
2. Narsuvai Organic Kitchen
Located in Velchery, Narsuvai Organic Kitchen restaurant serves traditional local organic food. The restaurant uses fresh organic vegetables, rock salt and rice straight from their farm in Nanillam, a town in Thiruvarur district, following a farm-to-fork concept. This restaurant came into being on the foundation that the food that the founders grew up on came back in fashion.
The restaurant boasts of a plastic-free environment and Vignesh, the manager, in this report says, “We use sugarcane boxes for packaging and give away only in paper bags.”
3. Prems Graama Bhojanam
N S Krishnamoorthy who started this restaurant in Chennai says, “We are as compliant as we can be. While we urge our customers to bring their own utensils if they want a takeaway, we have also provided the option of packing the food in reusable disposables and urge customers to bring them back when they come again.”
When the customers bring the disposables back, they receive a waiver off the packing charges usually levied. He says, “I am anti-plastic but unfortunately a lot of the material we buy comes packaged in plastics, so we need a solution to address that larger issue.”
4. Mixed café
This café is the answer to anyone who asks if fast food can be healthy. Brainchild of Sanjoy Das and wife Moumita Roy, and siblings Praveen and Dr Sunitha Raja, this café is a new entrant in Chennai. What catches one’s attention is a board displayed outside which reads – no refined flour, no refined sugar.
With everything on the menu power-packed with healthy ingredients, Mixed Café ensures that everything made is consumed on the same day.
According to this report, Praveen says, “In keeping with the ‘what’s healthy for the planet is healthy for you’ philosophy, the cutlery and packaging are biodegradable. We also try to use as many local ingredients as possible, like swapping quinoa for millets.”
If you know of any more such restaurants in Chennai, we would love to hear about them. Do write in to us.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)