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The Road Less Travelled…Masala Library Mumbai

Posted: Friday, 25 October 2013 17:23

The Road Less Travelled…Masala Library Mumbai

Oct 25: A new restaurant in the Bandra Curla complex Near Hotel Trident BKC has been opened barely for a few days and hasn’t even been officially launched and the regular liquor license has also not been received but it is already serving to full house because of its delicious Indian food with nouvelle presentation at affordable prices, writes Maloo Natarajan, our Mumbai Correspondent who was invited for a tasting earlier this week

Click For Large ViewBandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai has transformed from ‘Thar desert’ to ‘Mini Manhattan’ within the space of five years - from just a Café Coffee Cay and a Pizza Hut to fancy offices and fancier restaurants mushrooming every other day. The new kid on the block is a standalone restaurant named Masala Library - offering a great ambience, impeccable service, wonderful explosion of different textures and flavours of street food & a fascinating concept of molecular gastronomy thrown in at a price that's fairly acceptable.

Many modern chefs do not accept the term molecular gastronomy and prefer other terms like "modern cuisine" or "avant-garde cuisine”. Whatever the name, Chefs Himanshu Saini & Zahir Khan have mastered the art pretty well as I found out when I went to the restaurant at the invitation of Ankur Chawla, the General Manager Operations, along with Subhash Arora, President of Indian Wine Academy who was visiting Mumbai to participate at an Indo German Seminar on Indian wine industry followed by a German Wine Tasting the next day.

Click For Large ViewThe celebrity Chef and writer Jiggs Kalra and his son Zorawar Kalra, owners of Masala Library have a vision - to ensure that the complexity and the simplicity of Indian cuisine makes it one of the most sophisticated cuisines globally. This was amply visible in every dish placed before us. We visited the restaurant on a Tuesday hoping that it would not be too crowded but despite the fact that it has not been officially launched (just a soft launch), the place was packed. According to Ankur Chawla, GM Operations, it has been a full house on almost all the 17 days, since it opened.

Click For Large ViewWe realized that we were in for a big treat when Ankur mentioned that we would be feasting on the nine- course Chef’s Tasting Menu - small portions of all signature dishes in one sitting. I would take away the sense of surprise if I were to describe every dish and so will limit to just a few that we really enjoyed.

The first dish was a sphere of yogurt & papdi chaat where the yogurt ball burst in the mouth releasing flavors of the street food with a scientific twist to it. Next was the vegetarian Pesto Kebab that had hints of coriander and garlic. What I loved most was the Wild mushroom chai - it had dehydrated mushrooms, deconstructed truffle oil and mushroom consommé. The truffle oil got to its original form when mixed with the consommé.  It was a real piece of art indeed-and a treat for the palate.

The Tamilian Thayir sadam (yogurt rice) with pepper prawns & banana crisps served in a handmade shell placed on a chopped log of a real tree had great flavor Click For Large Viewand a unique presentation. The ‘maska’ (butter) bun, the anaar (pomegranate) and mint raita garnished with rose spheres, the amazing and innovative bread basket and the variety of desserts including jalebi served with a twist-on rabdi with pistachio dust were delicious. Mishti Doi Lollipops and Ghevar Cheesecake put all diet plans on the back burner during the evening

With the license for liquor just around the corner, we missed the opportunity of pairing the dishes with wine (some of the German Rieslings we tasted at Four Seasons earlier would have been a great match) although we did taste a few mocktails including the star anise martini topped with star anise foam & curry leaves. The food might be a bit heavy and too filling for me but was not chilli hot and the restaurant could become a great venue for pairing food with wine and I could see regular wine dinners being organised here.
                                          
Click For Large ViewHighs - Masala Library scores high on innovation, flavor, taste, presentation and well-groomed staff

Lows - the ambience could be a bit brighter

Must try: Wild mushroom chai, Thayir sadam with pepper prawns, Jalebi served on rabdi & the Curry leaf martini

Meal for two: INR 2500+taxes (w/o alcohol) - certainly is a bargain for probably a Michelin-starred eatery in the making 

Address: Ground Floor, First International Finance Centre, BKC, Mumbai.
Phone: 022 6642 4142

Facebook: Masala Library by JiggsKalra; Twitter: @MasalaLibrary

Tags: BKC, Mumbai, Masala Library

       

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