Ancient Spirits & Grillé marries flavor and health for new concept

Eddy Marenco

The words delicious and healthy can go hand in hand at Philly’s newest restaurant, Ancient Spirits & Grillé.

This new concept announced its opening for this Friday, Sept. 17 at 17th and Chestnut streets, with a special grand opening party from 5 to 10 p.m. on that date. Think passed organic cocktails, passed appetizers, food stations and desserts on that night with tickets ($50) benefitting Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.

In total, this new lavish eatery spans three stories and is also the first-ever Ayurvedic herbal restaurant and cocktail lounge in the country. 

Eddy Marenco

The meaning behind Ayurvedic generally translates to a traditional Indian system of medicine, and the contemporary European cuisine being offered at the Grillé along with a locally-focused bar program hones in on that exact idea. The service and chef-driven concept is said to highlight organic and herbal-based offerings with Executive Chef Chris Tavares, formerly of Davio’s helming the kitchen. The menu will feature creative dishes with ample vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.

What Ancient Spirits and Grille does differently than anywhere else in the city and beyond is very unique—those who head to the eatery can eat from a specially curated menu made just for you that populates after you take a short survey on your phone. The survey comes up with its own suggestions based on your body type and metabolic energy. Owners and lifelong friends Syam Namballa (CEO and Sr. Managing partner of Synergy financial solutions group) and Mahi Reddy (who has a decade of performance and expertise in the IT-Tech Industry) combined their decades of knowledge in the tech, travel and restaurant sectors for this unique restaurant experience where they use their own knowledge to blend wellness and technology. 

According to the release, food-wise, Ancient Spirits & Grillè takes inspiration from Ayurveda, which dates back 5,000 years and is a relevant practice even today to restore and maintain the harmony between the body and the mind. Holistic food plays a significant role to promote wellness by remedying the body’s imbalances. Every dish on the menu is hand-selected and customized according to each body type, aiming to relax the soul and treat the taste buds with unique and mouth-watering flavors.

A few examples provided from the kitchen include: a rack of lamb (made with a Turkish date, couscous, rosemary-boswellia mustard, sesame puree and port wine), a ginger duck breast (made with rosemary plum chutney, blistered scallions, parsnip-potato puree and red wine reduction), a BBQ trio (boasting herbal marinated skewers, lamb, chicken and vegetables), braised lamb (with tamarind pumpkin chutney,) and Ayurvedic Falafel (with mung bean, ayurvedic spice, caramelized onions and yogurt sauce) among other entrees. Other menu highlights include selections of soups (think heirloom carrot, mamsarasa and seafood bisque), salads (think salted roasted beet salad, watermelon salad, frisee salad and a red lentil salad) and desserts (think sambuca poached pear, creme brulee, flourless dark chocolate cake and more.) 

Eddy Marenco

A Chef’s Tasting Menu is also available Monday to Sunday and features five courses for $75 per guests. The menu, of course, is customized based on the guests’ dosha (energy) type with no substitutions. The fare comes from Chef Tavares himself who has incorporated the herbal aspects of Ayurveda for this new contemporary European cuisine while working closely with the team at the restaurant perfectly balance each dish for its unique flavor profile. This all is supposed to work with each individual guests’ dosha, as mentioned before.

From the bar, diners can also look for over 50 carefully sourced organic and biodynamic wines, 12 hand-crafted to order cocktails with herbal flavors and local ingredients, two dozen beers by draft, can and bottle, and inventive seasonal mocktails. Herbal cocktail highlights include the Herb of Life (includes gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice, lavender tonic reduction and house-made sage-basil-rosemary syrup,) the Ayur Dhatu, (made with silver tequila, organic oat milk, falernum papaya puree and a house-made citrus shrub,) the Turmeric Tide (boasting house-made turmeric-infused rum, fresh pineapple syrup and fresh lime juice) and much more. 

Nestled in between Grand L’Aquila Cafe and Di Bruno Bros, Ancient boasts a sweeping 50+ feet tall lush green wall and greenery on the first floor, a bar located beyond a waterfall in the back, a sweeping view on the second level, and additional dining rooms that serve as special event and private party spaces with ample room for cocktail style events or seated dinners on the third floor. In total, The first floor bar seats 12 guests and the downstairs dining rooms seats 45 guests, with an additional 20 guests on the sidewalk cafe. The second floor dining room seats 65 to 70 guests and the third floor seats 65 to 70 as well. The third floor private dining room can accommodate 45 to 50 guests in the larger room and 20 guests in other.

Eddy Marenco

Ancient Spirits & Grillé will open seven days a week, Sunday to Thursday, for dinner, from 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 11 p.m. Launch services include dine-in, take-out, delivery, indoor dining and outdoor dining. Delivery is available on Grubhub, Doordash and UberEats. For reservations, menus and additional information, visit asgphilly.com, call 215-478 8777 and follow @ancientspiritsgrille on Instagram.

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