Over the last few years, the number of places you can get poke bowls in Philly has surged. And why shouldn’t it? The native Hawaiian dish of diced raw fish piled high with various fruits, veggies and crunchy, spicy or sweet toppings is definitely a healthy, exotic and fresh alternative to a lot of the other fast-casual options for people on the go in the city.


’Tis the season for a certain orange fruit — before you get all excited by the name, we need to tell you there’s no pumpkin in any considerable quantity on the menu. Yes, you get a packet of roasted pumpkin seeds at the end of your meal. But we found out that “Pumpkin” is the pet name chefs and owners Ian Moroney and Hillary Bor have for each other.

    Are you bored with your brunch routine?
    Well, you’re in luck.
    Modern Indian restaurant Veda recently unveiled a new brunch menu that brings some exciting twists to the brunch scene in Center City.  
    But first, we have to talk about the drinks, because what is brunch without a cocktail? The Veda mimosa ($8) adds cranberry juice and sea salt to this brunch staple. Then there’s the Back to the Roots cocktail ($13). We were skeptical at first, because beet juice and gin form the basis of this drink, which we couldn’t imagine being a viable combination. But the honey, ginger and star anise, and the cracked black pepper along the rim of the glass, make for a bold concoction that satisfies.
    Back to the food: The most Western of the brunch fare we tried was the Masala omelet ($9), served with a side of crisp naan bread. It was tasty as vegetable omelets go, but we were slightly disappointed that the dish didn’t have a more pronounced level of Indian spice. It turns out you can ask for a higher level of spice when you order; we just got served the tamest level available, which was still a nice diversion from the ordinary.
    The samosa chaat ($7) offered a more traditional level of spice and flavor, as well as unexpected decadence. The familiar fried potato turnover is drenched in yogurt, tamarind chutney, tomatoes and mint, giving the dish a luxurious texture and complex flavors. We ended up spooning the excess chutney onto our omelet, which made it perfect.
    Veda’s take on shrimp tacos ($9) was another nice surprise. Phulka, a slightly thicker Indian version of a tortilla, played well with the spicy fried shrimp, which had an equally hearty and satisfying hush-puppy-like density to its batter. The cachumber salad and sweet chili aoli that garnish the taco bring a pleasant acidity that pulls everything together.   
    If you have room for dessert, the kulfi with poached blueberries ($7) is a refreshing way to cool down, as the Indian ice-cream dish tempers its sweetness, allowing the fruit to take center stage.  
    If you are looking for something to make your weekend mornings more colorful and flavorful, Veda has plenty of delights to spice up your brunch.

1920 Chestnut St.
Mon.-Thur.: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat.: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-10:30 p.m.
Sun.: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5-9:30 p.m.

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