Avni Mehrotra

reformed journalist

disgruntled restaurant marketer
 
always hungry, always foolish

Masala Library, BKC, Mumbai


When science gets to your plate and food becomes your religion

(I apologize but this review is going to be long, and this is when I tried keeping it short. Don’t judge me, but I dare you to dine there and not rave about the place for the rest of your life!)

Want to eat- Heard of Vada Pao, Sev Puri, Mushroom Soup, Jalebi and Mutton Chaamp. Regular dishes, right? Now picture a Vada pav inside out, maharastrian lehsuni chutney which, as the name says stuffs the pao inside the vada or a Jalebi caviar, saffron glaze, pistachio rabri which reshapes the Jalebi and presents it in the form of a caviar; every dish has an element of surprise in it which keeps you wondering how creative the next course will be! We won’t get much into explaining the examples here, but we are ready to hear you out if you go to Masala Library and not learn a thing or two about Indian cuisine version 2.0

Where to go- A stand-alone, luxury, fine dining restaurant by the much-acclaimed father-son duo Zoravar and Jiggs Kalra. This is Masala Library’s flagship outlet at Bandra-Kurla Complex, right opposite Sofitel Hotel.

Who to go with-Let’s stay you should take here someone you are trying to impress. Your mother-in-law, father in law, boss, client, angry girlfriend or someone with who you have been trying to go on a date for days. The visually appealing and lusciously gratifying food will work wonders on your partner’s mood and seriously, it will be all smooth sailing after that!

What to order- We gorged on their 9-course Chef’s tasting menu, which had traces of every speciality on the menu both for our vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences. We started with the amuse bouche Sev puri on the go, and moved to Braised mutton chaamp, maple and kokum glaze and Bhindi jaipuri, rajasthani papad ki subji, hand pounded. What particularly stood out was the Wild mushroom chai, truffle oil crumbs, dehydrated mushrooms and Hand pulled butter chicken, san marzano makhni. Serving as perfect conclusions to our food-play were the desserts whose names, tactfully don’t give much away. Chocolate, Childhood memories on the plate, Ghewar cheesecake, pistachio dust, almond chikki were outstandingly delicious and brilliantly presented making exceptional use of molecular gastronomy and liquid nitrogen. The food floored us with not just its immaculate presentation but also the distinctive taste, which is rarely lent to Indian food. While other chefs are busy introducing newer cuisines to India, it was heartening to see the young chefs of Masala Library embracing cuisine from every province of India and dishing it out in a globally infused avatar.

Cost for two- Rs 2000 (excluding taxes and alcohol)

What we reviewed- The restaurant relies heavily on the 
innovative use of molecular gastronomy and deconstruction techniques, right from presenting their palate cleansers to bringing in their signature desserts. Indian food finally goes for a makeover to shed the heavy, oily and spicy facade it used to don earlier. Every dish which comes up, starting from the simple Tomato Shorba to the smoking Chocolate dessert (We are dying to see your expression when you see this one) is presented in a never seen before avatar. Right from the humble curd rice to the sugary jalebi, every dish has been deconstructed in some way with hand-picked touches and served in a quirky manner making you wonder for a while what exactly you are eating! I tweeted this the day I dined here and I repeat myself, Masala Library and its young (read: cute) chefs can teach Indians how glamorous their food can be. The restaurant goes beyond the fact that Indian food is all about Butter Chicken and Dal. Rather, even if it is, latest culinary techniques and modern styles of preparation are aplenty to give it a much needed make-over. Being a Punjabi, I had stopped going out to eat Indian food in Bombay. Laying a menu with inclusions from provinces across the country, Masala Library, you have restored my faith in how Indian food should taste like! 

Would we go back- Well this is how we pretty much were during the review. So yes, a resounding YES!

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