A Toast to Health

  • Afshan Rashid
  • Publish Date: Mar 11 2016 12:39PM
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  • Updated Date: Mar 11 2016 12:39PM
A Toast to Health

There’s nothing to soothe exhausted nerves better than a welcoming hangout. And it doesn’t deal in the unhealthy – as most of today’s fast food hangouts tend to – all the better.
In Kashmir as elsewhere, people are increasingly becoming health conscious, looking for healthy but tasty alternatives to high-cholesterol fast food and sugary beverages.

Enter The Juice Box.
The Juice Box is the first modern juice bar in the valley. Located in the heart of Srinagar, in Jawahar Nagar near DAV School and a 5-minute walk from Amar Singh College, it is primarily a take-out destination for fresh juice and smoothies but does offer seating for a few. The place, which opened only three months ago, is tastefully done with colorful Japanese lights, classy furniture, and a Khatamband ceiling to add a touch of local tradition. Sit at any table or at the counter and you can watch the “juice masters” at work in the workshop-like kitchen.
The Juice Box is run by a young Kashmiri entrepreneur Tawheed, who studied economics, management and political science at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Tawheed had returned home from Canada and went out with his friends looking for a place to have fresh juice. There was none, to his utter surprise. That’s when the idea for a juice bar struck him. Armed with research on juices and their making, he started The Juice Box. He is a “juice master” now, he says, always experimenting with newer blends. Tawheed is always around with a warm smile, ready to exchange health tips with his customers.
The bar has instantly hit it off with the people, drawing good footfall even in the winter. The place is almost always full of people coming from nearby gyms, evening walks, and generally health conscious people.
All products are fresh, infused with home-made goodness. The “juice masters” personally select the best quality ingredients. The shop caters to all tastes and all ages – from creamy smoothies for children to sugar-free beverages for the elderly and the more health conscious. They even serve drinks designed specifically for diabetics.
The menu is exhaustive; pick from any of the fresh fruit juice blends, smoothies, milkshakes, protein shakes. The Juice Box’s fruit-based smoothies are creamy, taste heavenly and are healthy to boot providing as they do a boost of vitamins. But the menu is not fixed, it constantly changes to include the freshest fruits of the season, and to ensure the patrons are in for a surprise every time they visit.
My favourite is the Mixed Fruit Cocktail, which is a blend of five seasonal fruits. Its very first sip tickles your taste buds. I would also recommend the refreshing Pink Guava Smoothie and the delicious Banana Strawberry Smoothie. Smoothies are priced between Rs 110 and Rs 180.
If there’s one thing I wouldn’t recommend, it’s the Kitkat/Oreo Shake, not for taste so much as the excess sugar that all but defeats the purpose of a health drink. If you are looking for a tasty drink without compromising on health, you can choose from Pomegranate, Pineapple, Apple, Orange-Pomegranate, Carrot-Orange juices. For a quick snack, The Juice Box also serves assorted fresh fruit salads, and is adding more healthy eating options come summer. Nearly all the mouthwatering fresh juices and salads are priced between Rs 70 and Rs 180. Protein shakes are also available for gym-goers, priced at around Rs 160-210.
Javed Parsa of Kathi Junction, a famous eatery in Srinagar, is all praise for the juice bar. “I am a frequent visitor to The Juice Box. This place energises me with all the fresh stuff around. Nothing here is artificial. Come here, boost your immunity and out go fresh.”
It’s all only just begun, says Tawheed. “I am delighted to witness the growing awareness of being healthy in Kashmir, and The Juice Box definitely caters to this crowd in a convenient yet tasty manner. For me, the most important thing here is our quality and hygiene. We personally select the fruit we use and while preparing beverages we always wear disposable gloves. Something that has not become standard practice in Kashmir yet,” he says.
Dr. Nelofer, who has come to The Juice box with her two children, is excited about the new place. “In today’s times, the concern of most of the parents is to maintain the health of their children. With a variety of fast foods available in the market, it’s difficult for children to resist the temptation. So, it’s great that a healthy hangout place that has come up in the town. It’s healthy and the children love it”.
So, if you are craving for that healthy, tasty drink, you know where to head.