So what you get at this restaurant is no great embellishments where décor is concerned, but plenty happening on the table. I did not go the a la carte route. Instead, I built an appetite all day and went straight for the Degustation menu. Nine courses that I did justice to, over two hours and three glasses of wine. No, I skipped the wine pairing, preferring to stick to my red – a Shiraz. That was my mood du jour.
Since I had sufficient feedback about the food served here, I was determined to keep it all out of my mind and do my own evaluation. When I do a review (not a critique, mind you) I like to express my own views, not those of my fellow companions. So when the first course came along – Wild Mushroom Chai, contrary to another opinion, I was startled! This was exceptional. The aroma (magic of the truffle oil) bowled me over. I was in two minds about the rest that was to follow. Should I just ask them to get me one large bowl of this divine broth and forget the tasting menu…
Better sense prevailed, I savoured it and went on to the next. The best things in life do come in small portions.
A salad of pepper prawns in curry leaf, with thayir sadam added with a banana crisp for a little twist was a tingling affair. My tastebuds were getting aroused and the little feast continued right till the sorbet when I asked the steward to go slow, to give me breathing time.
And what was the intermediary offering? Pan-seared scallops with a thick coating of peanut butter salan with a nut cracker (which I recommended they tone down a bit, for the scallop is too delicate a fish), chicken tikka with a smokey aroma from hickory wood accompanied by habanero raita and some Braised Mutton Chaamp with Maple and Kokum Glaze.
The sorbet itself is unusual. Not compact ice shavings but a delicate frozen mishti doi. Something I could even have at the end of the meal as a substitute for dessert, when I don’t feel like a heavy duty finale. This is using the molecular method of cooking, sensibly.
The main course comes along in combined portions and the stewards end up serving it you so you don’t really get to see the presentation. Either you are too full by now or the starters are that much better or you are reserving space for the dessert that is to follow, I usually play with my main course. But the duck, Meen Moilee, laal maas were all excellent.
I have to warn those who have a weakness for Indian desserts. Leave a fair amount of space in your tummy, or you will lament all along on your way home that you did not do it justice.
The Jalebi Caviar is simply mind-blowing. Very cleverly made, like the tiniest of jalebi droplets. And the rabri that accompanies it is to die for.
Clearly the chefs at Masala Library are doing it right. Bringing to the restaurant goer a mix that is new, yet old.A progressive Indian cuisine which sensibly incorporates international ingredients giving every dish a twist.
The molecular method of cooking which forms an important part in the Masala Library kitchen also enhances what Zorawar Kalra has set out to do; marry the old with the new.
Subtlety is the key when you combine ingredients and methods; you can very easily tip the scale if the balance goes awry. But both Jiggs and Zorawar are aware of that and chances of going wrong are slim. If at all, more Masala Libraries cropping up in various parts of India and the world are the likely outcome, methinks.
Ground Floor, First International
G Block, Bandra (E),
Bandra Kurla Complex,
Ph:022 6642 4142