A meal at the renowned Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra and you’ll be convinced that looks can be deceptive. When I learned that the restaurant that has created ripples in the Mumbai dine-out scene will be serving a sixteen-course tasting menu, experiencing it was on my priority list. Walking through its doors, contemporary colours, wooden latticework, and false stone walls will make you think of it like any other fine dining restaurant but wait till you try the food!
The restaurant serves the Amuse Bouche to everyone before dishing out the meal and it will literally amuse you. To our surprise, it came in the form of a mock egg yolk inside an eggshell and was served in a customized bird’s nest. The shot is actually made of made of mango and coconut jel water and was easily the most palatable egg we’ve ever had.
Our starting course was snacks amongst which the Dahi Bada was served to us first. The small aerated bread soaked in creamy yogurt and served along with some chutneys on the side tasted just as appetizing as a regular dahi bad although it looked nothing like it. Our next snack was the Charcoal Bhajiya which was another hit. It was basically white onion fritters that are batter fried in activated charcoal and served along with some tomato chutney. Our favourite snack from the night was the Deconstruction of Samosa. The dish brings all the ingredients of a samosa on a straight line and like the other dishes look nothing like it. The thin crisp made up refined flour, topped up with mash potato, mint chutney and garnished with almond flakes tastes makes for amazingly punchy flavours.
Among appetizers, we liked the Farmer’s Staple which is a twist on the traditional Indian bread called bhakri. The bread is made from pearl millet, stuffed with caramelized onion and is served along with white butter by the side. The bread was crispy and the caramelized onion add crunch to it but I think it would taste even better with spicy chutney. Post that, we savoured the Wild Mushroom Chai. The dehydrated mushrooms serve as tea leaves, truffle oil crumbs represent sugar powder and mushroom consomme represents black tea. All of it mixed together and the warm and delectable soup will comfort your soul!
For starters, the Gilawat Kebab Shirmal is a good bet. Served on aerated shirmal, the bread is made using batter instead of dough and is easily impressive. The best of the starters were the Curry Leaf Pepper Prawns that are cooked in traditional South Indian style. The curry leaf and pepper flavoured prawns are served along with thayir sadam (South Indian curd rice) foam by the side, garnished with pokchoy will definitely thrill your taste-buds. Another started that stole the show was the Braised Mutton Chaamp. Glazed with kokam juice and maple syrup and garnished with micro popcorns, the meat was cooked to perfection and was among the star dishes of the evening.
The mains were an equally interesting affair. We started off with the Miso Stew which was chicken broth served along with shredded chicken and mizzoram rice. The broth was clear with handful quantity of chicken and rice and was as tasty as it was comforting. For me, the clear winner in the mains was the Tawa Boti. The small tender piece of lamb, slow cooked with spices on griddle was served along with frozen green peas, bokchoy, dehydrated spinach crisp dusted with spinach dust. Accompanied with Indian bread and coconut curry, it was a treat we happened to overindulge in.
Dessert was the part I relished the most. The first dessert was the Ashen Kulfi, a mousse made of the banana leaf having charcoal ash mixed with sweetened reduce milk and was served along with sesame ash and nuts. While it was fairly good, I feel that you can easily forget about it once you dig into the Jalebi Caviar. It deserves all the possible spotlight. To our delight, the caviar resembled motichur ladoo and was served on a bed of rich rabdi. A fluffy yellow pillow of saffron-flavored foam added airiness and depth to the already loaded dessert that was love at first bite!
Three hours and we were glad to have made through the gargantuan spread without exploding. The delightful palate cleansers kept us going. The attentive servers and their knowledge impressed us as they unveiled elements of surprise in every dish. Each course presented the restaurant’s culinary genius in a plate and we believe that the sixteen-course menu is a good bet for the evolved diner. With bestsellers and limited editions, we definitely recommend this library!
Price: Rs 3200 inclusive of taxes for the sixteen-course meal
Where: Masala Library
Ground Floor, First International Financial Centre, G Block,
Bandra East, Opposite Sofitel Hotel, Mumbai – 400050
Contact: 084529 00900
Note: The critic was invited by the Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra but all the opinions expressed herewith are her own