It’s interesting that this restaurant would call itself a Library. I belong to perhaps, the last few generations, who visited libraries extensively through my education years, and spent a disproportionate amount of time within their 4 walls, and call me nerdy if you want to, but I’m extremely fond of libraries! So, to walk into a ‘library’ that doesn’t have the familiar smell of old books, and instead boasts of the aroma of good Indian food, the clatter of happy cutlery and that unmissable glint in diners’ eyes, just made me have faith, all over again, in the word ‘library’!
MASALA LIBRARY by Jiggs Kalra, was my choice to experience Modern Indian Fare that has been making headlines across the globe. To be honest, I’m not a fan of Indian food, so I had my expectations set at average for this meal. However, what the Chef’s Tasting Menu did was, it made me reconsider how I’ve looked at Indian food from perhaps, a biased lens. Masala Library has made me reconnect & appreciate the vast expanse of flavours that one can tap into, under the broad umbrella of ‘Indian’; and that one can never really claim to have tried ‘everything Indian’, it’s just too damn vast! Of course, the gastronomical jazzing up, that comes with the ‘Modern’ aspect of this Indian fare, complete from ideation to the presentation, never ceases to amaze (the child in) me!
Coming straight to what was on offer on the Chef’s Tasting Menu:
The Bird’s Nest (Sweet Mango compressed in a globule, resting in coconut water): They say, an Amuse Bouche is a sneak-peak into the chef’s style. Looking at the on point plating and the illusion created of a Bird’s Nest, I could already tell that the chef wanted to play with our senses and that this journey to come was going to be ‘oh-so-yum-and-instagrammable!’ On a separate note, why do I not remember seeing a bird’s nest, for real, in forever? Have I stopped noticing the little things in life, or are they really getting extinct, as they say? Hmph!Snacks
Love the game of tracing familiar flavours and trying to decode the original-ness in this new avatar platter food. Also, the platters by themselves are so stunning!
Bhalla Semi Freddo with a Beet Crisp: If Dilli Haat met Milan Fashion Week, they’d have this baby! And boy, is this baby LIT!Samosa Deconstruction: TBH, I think I’m too attached to the idea of getting through a mouthful of potato stuffing to relish the crispy edges; which is why this deconstructed Samosa was just too easy for me (& so lesser fun! Farmer’s Staple 3.0: Thalipeeth got some much-needed swag! I love thalipeeth just as is, so to see it strut along centre stage, just makes me swell with pride. The beautiful rustic flavours and the perfect portion size, gave it a ‘pet ko pahuncha, acha laga’ feels!Soup
Mushroom Chai : Soup is my litmus test for any meal. If a chef can nail making vegetables drinkable (basically, soup), I’m on board. With this soup- chai, I was compelled to ask for repeats! So, you know…!
This Mushroom chai is a genuine delight. It is sublime and flavoursome and makes you wish you were staring at a valley in the rains with this chai in your hands!Starter
Amaranth crusted Poriyal with Goat’s Cheese Raita : This one definitely got tastier with its modern upgrade! What a good way to eat your veggies! Take it from a non-vegetarian, I wouldn’t mind this crunchy -veggie delight over a kofta!Palate Cleanser
Mishti Doi Sorbet: Oh Oh Oh! This is just genius. Why don’t they revolutionize all of Bengal’s Mishti Dois into this chilled, juicy, slurpy, refreshing version? (I’m wondering how do I explain the deliciousness of the sorbet version of the Mishti Doi to my Sasural, based in Kolkata and make them believe that the our i.e. Bombay’s Masala Library version of Mishti Doi, far outshines any other version there! I feel like this is going to become one of those ‘Challenge Accepted’ Moments for the Sasural…which will end up in me tasting 20 more versions of Mishti Doi in Kolkata! I’m not complaining!)Main Course
Sprouts Misal Kachori with Ghati Curry : There is this magical thing about curries. Sometimes they are designed to be so potent, that the fragrance, colour, texture, taste stays with you long after the sight & taste has left you. Masala Library manages just that. A curry so potent that it uplifts the room with its dance as the server slowly pours the curry and it envelopes the waiting shy Kachori. The kachori itself holds a pride of place on the plate, but the romance truly begins, when the Kachori finds its partner in the Ghati Curry. And this, my friends, are what great love stories are all about! That perfect combination. That match made in heaven. The luscious Ghati Curry & the humble sprouts kachori.Desserts
Sheer Khurma: Next Eid, this is what we are serving. It’s decided. We’re serving guests Biryani at home, but then bringing them to Masala Library just for this beautiful rendition of the Sheer Khurma. I think we’ve done the traditional one justice for many years, it’s time for the new age stuff to kick in- this reimagined Sheer Khurma takes a humble household dessert and transforms it into a sophisticated dessert that your dil wants more of.Malai Toast: Having tasted the original Malai Toast of the gullys of Kolkata, I thought this one was a little less decadent. The good thing is, in its new avatar, I didn’t feel the weight of OMG – This-is-going-to-make-me-fat-by-looking-at-it but well, I did crave for the aren’t-all-good-things-in-life-always-a-bit-extraaa wala feeling.
Jalebi Caviar: As far as dessert centerpieces go, this stunning dessert is a sensation! Designed to feed a village, this Jalebi Caviar will knock you out if you attempt it solo! Not for the light hearted or less-sweet lovers, this Jalebi Caviar is all the sweet shop cravings you’ve ever had, packaged into a single dish. Even though the Jalebi caviar by itself reminds me of motichoor, you can’t miss this one for its sheer Indianness!Levitating Chocolate: I’m pretty sure there was a heck of a lot of science & cool gastronomy floating around to make these truffles as fancy as they were, but I apologize, I have not much else to say about these truffles as I was experiencing a major bout of sugar-high & had pretty much reached another land, floating as beautifully as the truffles in front of me!
Paan Candy Floss: It’s always the small things in life that bring us joy. I remember tasting my first variation of a regular paan at Punjab Grill, as a Paan Shot and that penny drop realization that you could change everything about something and still retain its very essence! It simply fascinated me, as a young girl, all those years ago. Eating this Paan flavoured Candy Floss amused me, once more for if you can string your present with the most beautiful aspects of your past – of your childhood, then that’s a winning recipe right there!
Pictured Here: My very own Personal ‘Alice in her Food-Wonderland’, Ritika enjoying the Paan Flavoured Candy Floss
And on that note, I sign out of my rather long review of the Chef’s Tasting Menu at the Masala Library, but then, if the food doesn’t make you want to sing, then there is no fun, and I have just written a Ballad!
My Jaldi 5:
- Food: 4.5/5
- Ambience: 3.5/5
- Service: 5/5
- Variety: 4/5
The Vegetarian Chef’s Menu is priced at Rs. 2500 + Taxes. Wine Pairings (5 glasses of 75 Ml each) for Rs.1750 + Taxes additionally.