WARNING : to those who seek to read; this post may contain levels of profoundness, not found in other food blogs…sorry!
So I’m not here to discuss the true ‘meaning of life’ (I gave up on trying to figure that one out a while back), and if I really wanted to discuss mindfulness or what truly makes me happy, I would more than likely be writing a completely different style of blog. Losing your way in life certainly has its challenges, however in the ‘pursuit of happiness’, I have found solace in writing about food. Some days I do write to escape my own mind and its questions, other days it is for a creative output but primarily I write for the pure love of food. It truly excites me, and quite often I can’t wait to tell a new story (not so good when an idea springs to mind at 4am).
Ok, stick with me, I haven’t completely lost the plot just yet – the foodie relevance of this, is about to be demonstrated…
I had previously heard about Atma, nevertheless being neither vegan or vegetarian, I have to be honest and say it hadn’t been at the top of my list of places to visit. However, having been in the press with its recent relocation to the Capitol Centre in Cardiff it sparked my interest, and when an offer came up on Wriggle (a fab website if you haven’t found it yet) – intrigue got the better and off I toddled with my code in hand.
Atma is an Ahimsa (to show respect for all living things) vegetarian and vegan café and a conscious living lifestyle lounge. The Sanskrit word for body, mind and soul or the self; Atma’s mission statement is to “satisfy the bodies, minds and souls of the people of Cardiff. Or in other words, to make everyone happy.” As their website identifies ‘it is a place that will revive the soul, satisfy your appetite and help you connect with a healthier lifestyle influenced by ancient wisdom.’
On entering Atma, I have to say the first thing that surprised me was the sense of calm and feeling of openness. It is a large, stripped back space, with tables to one side and to the rear an area used for events, meditation and yoga sessions. A menu dominates one wall, with a small but varied range of well-priced dishes including classics such as sabji and dal, ‘blissful burgers’, ‘irresistible wraps’ and ‘soulful sides’.
Atma take the view that what we eat significantly affects our consciousness as well as our bodies. Consequently their menu features healthy, ethical and karma-free dishes made with fresh, seasonal and quality ingredients which are, where possible, sourced locally. According to ancient yoga wisdom, the atma, is always seeking lasting happiness, and the food we eat has a significant part to play in terms of boosting our happiness and enriching our lives.
After my visit, I was inclined to agree…
Supersoul Special | £7.95
Comprising of a trio of sabji (meaning ‘vegetable dish’). a thali of beautiful delicately spiced vegetable and paneer curry, dal and home-made tomato chutney were complimented with basmati rice, a pakora and chapati. Delicious and flavourful, all of the dishes were well cooked and while I am more of a ‘turn up the heat’ kind of girl, the spicing was good. I thoroughly enjoyed the curry and dal, however I will say that the tomato chutney stood out. A small well balanced pot of spicy, sharp sweetness, it combined and enhanced all of the other elements on the platter. Not forgetting that it was all washed down with a wonderfully thick and fruity mango lassi, made using Atma’s own Ahimsa yoghurt.
Happily full by this point, I opted to bypass the karma-free cakes on offer. Although they will most definitely be experienced on my next visit along with Atma’s spiced Ahimsa chai. I instead chose to relax…
Admiring the beautiful and interesting artwork on the walls, It was the posters advertising ‘Ask the Monk’ sessions – advising ‘Any topic any question, come and ask a monk’, that caught my eye. I have to say that this is where it unraveled slightly as in true ‘Octopus style’ my random mind went off on a tangent. The next words out of my mouth being – “What? Like Siri?” It would be at this point I apologise to Atma, because to be fair they achieved their aim of making someone happy (although possibly not quite in the way they initially set out). Rather ‘sadly’ we spent a good 10 minutes thinking up questions we would ‘ask the monk’ including (but not limited to) can you please suggest why the bonnet wouldn’t close on my car this morning?; what did possess my son to paint a big yellow sun on his brother’s carpet (argh!), and most importantly what WAS the actual point of the TV series Lost?
I am guessing more appropriate questions to ask, would have been regarding self-fulfilment, inner peace and enlightenment, but it was a fun activity and most definitely put a smile on my face!
Atma is certainly one of the more unique dining experiences I have had the pleasure to recently undertake. I love it when eateries have a great concept that is wholly embraced, although in Atma it is so much more than a ‘concept’, but a way of life. I truly left feeling revived and with a sense of serenity (I have to say…usually reserved for lunches that include some form of alcohol content!). If nothing else, it is an interesting way of thinking, so I leave you with this…’ be true and kind to yourself, do what makes you smile, and while you may not ever get everything figured out, find a happy space and embrace it.’ Damn that’s good advice…I should really take it – ha ha!
- I have to say the team are so friendly and happy to answer any questions that you have. It was lovely to receive service with a smile and to see individuals so passionate about Atma.
- Ask a Monk sessions are every Wednesday and Friday from 3pm-4pm. If unlike me and you have some ‘sensible’ questions to ask, it sounds like a great way to find out more about compassionate eating and conscious living.
- I love that they also run yoga and meditation classes, and have special events including workshops on eating and staying well, improving motivation and mindfulness. These are certainly going on my list to investigate further.
Would I go again?
Definitely – I don’t often get inspired in this way when I go out to eat.
Would I recommend Atma?
If you enjoy vegetarian and vegan food then Atma is certainly worth experiencing. The perfect place to escape the outside world…if only for an hour or so.
Monday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 11am to 4pm
Address | Unit 20, Capitol Shopping Centre, Queen Street, Cardiff, CF10 5AG
Web | www.atmacafe.co.uk
If you fancy getting a ‘wriggle on’, and would like to try Wriggle out, use code QZUCZA to get £2 off your first order.