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While the pandemic has altered the lifestyles and livelihoods of many of us, there are also ventures that have popped up and are for the betterment of others aka foodies like us. The Jar Bar is one such business. Operating purely on Instagram, it is the brainchild of the creative genius Shifani Reffai. It is quite simply a few vegan and vegetarian smoothies and puddings that she makes herself using locally sourced ingredients. 

While it may sound simple enough, this review is not just about the yummy food, but also about the sentiment and sustainable approach she has taken to creating this brand. The Jar Bar has some unusual seasonal flavour options for its smoothies. These include jakfruit and rambuttan. The products are made with either no sugar at all or natural sweeteners as much as possible. 

Image credit – Shifani Reffai 

The Jar Bar uses glass jars as packaging that they encourage to repurpose as much as possible. They even take them back for second orders. They do not contain any stickers or brand names to limit packaging waste. Jars are then presented to you in brown paper bags with unique prints and a personalised message to the person who ordered the goodies… or so we thought. Each bag contains one Shifani’s original drawings depicting elements of nature. Each order has a unique picture and ranges from birds, animals, insects and even waves. 

Image credit – Shifani Reffai 

Now for the taste test. We ordered The Dark Matter Chocolate Biscuit Pudding, Mango party Smoothie, Creamy Vegan Mash Jar, Big Brother Hummus and the seasonal special Rambuttan Smoothie. 

Image credit – Shifani Reffai 

The Dark matter Chocolate Biscuit pudding is not vegan as it contains dairy products, but is decadent and not at all sweet. We have no idea how she managed to insert all those layers in, but it looked really pretty. 

The Creamy Vegan Mash is Shifani’s take of the classic potato mash sans the dairy. Rich, creamy and with tiniest hint of coconut, this was really yummy. We ate it off the jar, used it as a dip and even a filling for some toast sandwiches. Yes, you guessed right. We loved it. 

Hummus is every vegan’s go-to product. Rich with nutrients, it is also a versatile spread that often replaces butter. While not everyone can get it right we are happy to say that The Jar Bar hummus is delightful. The garlic reigns in this mix and we loved it. 

Image credit – Shifani Reffai 

Now the Rambuttan Smoothie was the interesting one. While part of the fun is tearing the rambuttan skin off and scraping the flesh off the seed with your teeth, it’s not for everyone. The Jar Bar does the work for you and blends it into a pulpy drink. It’s not completely smooth and retains the bite of the rambuttan flesh but keeps the flavour intact. I absolutely enjoyed it. Now we wait for rambuttan season. 

While the menu is not extensive, we love the concepts behind The Jar Bar. Combining healthy comfort food with local flavours, sustainability and art this unique venture is one of a kind. Do check them out on Instagram to order.

Suramya Hettiarachchi