Café Mercara Express
ITC Grand Chola, Chennai.
Meal for two: Rs 2,400
“I thought you were a vada-pav sort of guy!” I stare accusingly at Chef Nikhil Merchant, senior sous chef at the Cafe Mercara Express as he rolls out their new menu. It consists of three Chai glasses filled with freshly made juices. “The first one is a cleanser: beetroot, watermelon and mint,” explains Nikhil.
I take a sip. “The second a de-toxifier: carrot, Apple, and ginger. The third a health drink: jamun and addled mint.” I try not to ask whether I have wandered into a Deepak Chopra healing centre. Senior executive chef Ajith Bangera at the ITC Grand Chola intervenes. He recites the new Mercara mantra: “Carefully selected. Mindfully prepared. We want to give our guests a healthier option to starting their day.”