One of our first memories of the Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, when it opened its doors to Mumbai’s patrons in 2013, was seeing a photograph of sev puri sitting pretty in a toy rickshaw. Recently, this progressive Indian restaurant that’s as much about molecular gastronomy and deconstructed presentation as it’s about the flavours, revamped its A La Carte as well as Chef’s Tasting Menu. Curiosity got the better of us and we headed to their BKC outpost.
Dhokla Lasagne, Palak Goat Cheese Bhurjee, Corn and Dill Curry (poured over the dish later)
Warm, spacious, well-lit and thankfully, not too overwhelming, we liked the restaurant’s vibe. Settled in, we nibbled on the amuse-bouche, tiny, rotund muska buns — soft and completely melt-in-the-mouth — along with thandai sphere, a bubble formed by saffron milk reduction, served in a spoon to cleanse our palate. We were ready to hit this culinary trail. The waiters were on autopilot, whispering into their walkies to ensure a glitch-free ride. The dishes (individual portions) were presented one after the other in different avatars — from soups in fish-shaped bowls to lollipops in fuming base of liquid nitrogen. Plus, they packed in flavours not only from North India but from Gujarat and Kerala too. Fortunately, the waiter elaborated every ingredient that comprised the deconstructed dishes served in front of us, making this experience quite enriching.
Though part of their earlier menu, Mishti Doi Lollipop is now presented on a fuming base of liquid nitrogen
We began with Steamed Patrani Machhi, Lemon Coriander Shorba, Chukki Edamame (Rs 385). A zesty offering, the tangy shorba blended well with the slightly bland basa, making the soup quite refreshing. The addition of the fried and crunchy ladyfingers in the Fresh Chenna Bhalla Chaat, Dates and Almond Chutney, Crispy Okra (Rs 375) made this chaat quite unique compared to the regular dahi bhallas. The Bacon Wrapped Tandoori Morels, Dry Chardonnay Carbonara (Rs 875) featured morels that were a tad too burnt for our liking and we passed on this one. As the Masala King Crab Bhurjee Pao (Rs 450) arrived, we let out a silent ‘aww’. A cute shell of the King Crab (eyes intact) stared at us even as the crabmeat was cooked into flavoursome bhurjee and placed on top of the buttery, soft pao. Our winner of the day, undoubtedly.
The deconstructed version of the paan in form of Pista Paan, Coconut Ice Cream, Rose Foam
Dhokla Lasagne, anyone?
The Mishti Doi Lollilop served on base of liquid nitrogen was heaven. Sated, we excitedly awaited for the mains. A burst of flavours from Gujarat and Italy greeted us as we dug into the Dhokla Lasagne, Palak Goat Cheese Bhurjee, Corn and Dill Curry (Rs 625). The slightly sweet and spongy dhoklas blended well with the tartly flavours of palak goat cheese bhurjee and the spicy dill curry.
Masala King Crab Bhurjee Pao. Pics/Satyajit Desai
The Umami Crumbed Mushroom Soufflé Kofta, Seared Oyster Mushrooms, Truffle Saffron Curry (Rs 695) appealed to the mushroom-lover in us; fried bread kofta filled with soft mushroom mix that was to be had with the richly textured curry.
A paan punch
Though stuffed, the deconstructed version of a paan in form of Pista Paan, Coconut Ice Cream, Rose Foam (Rs 575) bowled us over. The dry fruit barfi-like paan was richly flavoured with gulkand, and coupled with the sweet foam, made the experience better. The best part: no betel leaf. Having spent two and a half hours amid rich flavours and countless experimentations, we left this library with Jiggs Kalra’s statement, mentioned on the restaurant’s portal, ringing in our ears: “We serve memories, not just food.”
Time:12 pm to 2:30 pm; 7 pm to 11 pm
At: Ground floor, First International Financial Centre, opposite Sofitel Hotel, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E).
This was a preview, and hence not anonymous.