Sattvic Dining at the Higher Taste Restaurant of ISKCON Temple in Bangalore



Sri Krishna talks about Sattvic food in the Bhagavad Gita. The Higher Taste, a fine-dining restaurant at the Bangalore ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple provides sattvic food to visitors to the temple. Several dishes are prepared at the restaurant – all dishes are a combination of natural ingredients like grains, vegetables and milk, which nourish the soul and body.

How about tucking into an eggless caramel cake? Or savouring Bukhare ki dal made without onions and garlic? The Higher Taste, a fine-dining restaurant at the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple, Bangalore, offers nearly 100 such dishes that attract a steady stream of hard-to-please food connoisseurs, pilgrims and tourists across nationalities. 
This kind of cooking is described as one that adheres to ‘Sattvic' principles. “The concept of Sattvic food dwells on Lord Krishna's message in the Bhagwad Gita. It is a combination of natural ingredients like grains, vegetables and milk, which nourish the soul and body. It goes beyond vegetarianism. As the masalas are basic and freshly ground, there's a feel-good factor and one doesn't feel heavy at the end of the meal,” explains Chitranga Chaitanya Das, head of the temple's Prasadam department.
Instead of hiring kitchen talent from overseas, the core team looked at designing international dishes with a desi twist. The idea was to distil the essence of Sattvic food while falling back on world cuisine. The platter was filled with Mexican, Greek and Mediterranean delicacies adapted to Vaishnava style of cooking and suited to Sattvic taste buds. For instance, flaxseeds were substituted for eggs while baking fluffy muffins. 
Likewise, bruschettas and thin-crust pizzas evolved as signature dishes. The buffet spread includes pastas, Chinese noodles and other varieties of world cuisine. Desi temptations from south and north India constitute the a la carte offerings. The Hyderabadi biryani is garnished with cabbage carrying a hint of asafoetida. According to Das, the flavour mimics onion. Original recipes have been tweaked to add a surprising lip-smacking factor, such as the bharwan Jodhpuri or arisi paruppu saatham or even the paan ice-cream.
Their task was made easier by the fact that similar experiments were already on at ISKCON's fine-dining restaurant Govindas in the US. “Though the vision is similar, for the first time the menu is categorised as Sattvic food and is being promoted in ISKCON. For a wider appeal, the flagship brand was visualised as The Higher Taste,” says Das.