It used to be quite hard to be a vegetarian. It was especially difficult if you were living in Chicago, the capital of beef, pork and sausages, in the mid-80s. Trust me on that one. A five-year stint as a vegetarian, before vegetarianism attained the popularity it has today, taught me a lot about food. I learned that vegetarian food didn’t have much flavor; boiled veggies were just plain boring and that simple dish, along with a few salads was most restaurant’s idea of vegetarian food.
Now, however in the enlightened 21st century we no live in, vegetarianism is getting to be  a lot easier. And it’s certainly become a lot easier in Sukhumvit since Saras opened its doors a little over two years on Soi 20.
Food that has no flavor has no place in a restaurant and the people at Saras definitely know this because their food is packed with flavor. Every mouthful we had on a recent visit was a delightful experience. It didn’t seem to matter what we ordered as the end result was the same. The food was just plain delicious. If this food had existed back in Chicago I’d probably still be  a vegetarian. Hell, if I could eat this food every day I’d go back to it now.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea, actually, because as delicious as this food is, it’s also healthier than the average western diet and also better than the diet of many urban Thais now too. 
First, there’s no meat which means lower fat and no chemicals from processing. There’s also very little dairy used here. Just a small amount of butter in some of the dishes. Most people don’t realize it but fat from dairy is the real killer when it comes to gaining weight. Keep ordering those pizzas and watch your waistline keep growing.
Just one small example of the layers of flavor in these dishes is the tomato-based dipping sauce that was served with the rava onion masala dosa. There was a smoky, sophisticated taste to this sauce along with the tomato flavor and it turned out to be lentils that had been roasted a and then ground up and added to the sauce. It provided a little grainy texture to the sauce as well as the roasted nutty flavor of the lentils. It’s little touches like these throughout the dishes at Saras that lift them above the ordinary.
Owner Gaurav Kejriwal came from India years ago where he worked in the IT sector but you wouldn’t know it from looking at his restaurant and tasting the food he proudly serves his customers. Set up with a food court system — you put monetary credit on a prepaid card and then order what you want from the large menu — the restaurant functions very smoothly even though everything is cooked to order. There are over 200 items on the menu and then there is the sweets department where there are more Indian desserts than you’ve ever seen. If you’ve eaten an Indian dessert in a Bangkok hotel, chances are it came from here. 
These people know what they are doing and they obviously have a passion for it which shows up in the food. It’s too bad more restaurants here don’t have that same commitment. The quality of the food we are being served would vastly improve.
Saras, Soi 20, 02-401-8484