To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Center City District Restaurant Week, we’ll be spending time celebrating the chefs and restaurateurs—and some of their favorite recipes—as we get closer to the event.
This week, we’re excited to share some stories and insights from Ancient Spirits & Grille. As the first herbal lounge in the country, their approach to the menu focuses on creating food that treats the body and the mind.
What inspired your journey to become a chef?
Wellness through food: Holistic cuisine often emphasizes nourishment and promoting overall wellness. Our chefs will be inspired to create dishes that not only delight the taste buds but also provide nutritional value and support guests' well-being. They can experiment with herbs and superfoods to develop a menu that balances flavor, nutrition.
Fusion of ancient and modern: Blending ancient wisdom with contemporary culinary techniques and presentation styles can be a compelling inspiration for chefs. Finding innovative ways to incorporate herbs & spices into modern dishes can create a unique dining experience that appeals to both traditional and modern sensibilities.
What inspired your approach to cooking?
Chefs at Ancient Spirits & Grille may have the opportunity to educate guests about holistic cuisine, herbal mixology, and the health benefits of specific ingredients. This interaction can be inspiring for chefs who have a passion for sharing knowledge and creating memorable experiences for diners.
Can you tell us about the recipe your team shared, including the story behind it, its inspiration, and why you chose to submit it?
Salt Roasted Beet Salad is a delightful dish, and offers a unique blend of flavors and nutritional benefits. Here are some key flavor profiles and nutritional ingredients of this dish:
• Earthy: Beets bring bright color and an earthy flavor to the dish.
• Sweet & Nutty: The addition of figs, walnuts & mascarpone cheese provides a perfect taste profile to the beets. These ingredients add the right amount of sweetness, buttery character to the overall dish.
• Spicy: Wasabi powder in edamame puree is a subtle touch and balances the overall sweetness of the dish and enhances the overall flavor profile and complements the other ingredients.
Holistic cooking focuses on healthy and nutritious ingredients, and this dish aims to incorporate a harmonious blend of flavors. The combination of beets, figs, nuts along with mascarpone cheese and edamame puree creates a well-rounded taste experience.
How have you seen Center City evolve since opening?
Philadelphia's Center City has been going through various changes and adaptations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many urban areas, the city faced numerous challenges, but it has also shown resilience and innovation in navigating these unprecedented times.
What inspired your unique cocktail program as America's first "herbal cocktail lounge?”
Ancient Spirits is an establishment that combines holistic cuisine with herbal cocktails, emphasizing the importance of healthy and flavorful food while incorporating elements of immunity development. This approach aligns with the growing trend of incorporating wellness and conscious eating into dining experiences.
Ayurvedic cuisine is rooted in the ancient Indian holistic healing system of Ayurveda, which focuses on balancing the mind, body, and spirit through diet and lifestyle choices. It emphasizes using fresh, whole foods, herbs, and spices to create nourishing and balanced meals. By incorporating Ayurvedic principles, Ancient Spirits & Grille aims to provide dishes that support overall well-being and promote a harmonious relationship between food and the body.
The inclusion of herbal cocktails further showcases the restaurant's commitment to providing a holistic dining experience. Herbal cocktails often feature ingredients like medicinal herbs, botanicals, and fresh fruits, offering a unique blend of flavors while potentially providing additional health benefits. These cocktails can be crafted to complement the flavors of the dishes and enhance the overall dining experience.
By promoting healthy and hip-style food, Ancient Spirits & Grille likely aims to cater to individuals who are conscious about their dietary choices, seeking flavorful meals that also contribute to their overall well-being. The incorporation of immunity-boosting ingredients and flavors can further enhance the appeal, particularly in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where people are increasingly prioritizing their immune health.
Overall, Ancient Spirits & Grille's focus on holistic cuisine, herbal cocktails, immunity development, and flavor profiles indicates a desire to offer a unique and wellness-centric dining experience. It can be an exciting option for those looking to explore diverse and health-conscious culinary offerings.
Stay tuned as we continue to share more of these stories as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Center City District Restaurant Week, and check out all of the amazing restaurant options in Center City!