Masala Library: Giving traditional Indian food a modern makeover
Have you ever felt like eating street snacks like jhal moori cookie or ghugni chaat at one of the top-rated restaurants in the country?
Have you ever felt like eating street snacks like jhal moori cookie or ghugni chaat at one of the top-rated restaurants in the country? The culinary offering at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra promises to offer you a never-before gastronomic voyage capturing the range of India's centuries-old food traditions with modern-day cooking techniques presented in a unique way.
"Indian cuisine, over the decades, had become boring with the same dishes and presentations available everywhere, whether it was a high-end five-star restaurant, a fine dining place or a small roadside eatery. Sadly, the cuisine had not seen much innovation over time.
"This inspired us to create the most avant-garde menu for an unparalleled experience. Each dish served at our restaurant has its own origin, evolution and strengths," Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director of the Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, told IANS during a visit to the outlet located next to Le Meridian Hotel in central Delhi.
Massive Restaurants has a chain of restaurants in India and abroad, one of them being Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, named after Zorawar's father, the legendary food aficionado.
From the look of the place -- no less than a five-star visage -- you will never imagine that this place is so rooted in keeping alive the "traditional essence of a dish".
But that's what makes this place different from other food outlets.
"While innovating, it is essential for us to retain the traditional essence of a dish; we simply do not go all bonkers in the name of innovation. We do not believe much in experimentation as, first, the food must appeal to the five senses," said Zorawar.
Masala Library recently launched mouth-watering preparations like jhal moori cookie, ghugni chat and dahi vada.
The main course is a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings, representing all the regions of the sub-continent -- Reconstructed Prawn, tempered coconut; Nizami Haleem, Mutton Pickle; Baked Kullu Trout, Colours of India; Chicken Mizo Stew with Black Rice, Almond Crusted Water Chestnut sphere, Garam Masala Korma, Modernist Anda Curry; Multan Moth Dal; and a lot more.
For those diners who still prefer their traditional dal, chawal, achar, papad and chutney, there's "Dal Chawal Arancini" on offer.
"The philosophy adopted in the menu at Masala Library revolves around progressive Indian cuisine, which is a synthesis of over four decades of research and exploration across various Indian kitchens by Jiggs Kalra," Zorawar said.
Those who fancy delectable food choices will fall in love with the soups and salads that include wild mushroom chai, truffle oil crumbs, dehydrated mushrooms, chicken mizo stew black rice, curry leaf and pepper asparagus.
Pesto kabab, smoked tomato, tandoori guchchi, litti chokha eggplant (inspired by the popular Bihari dish), Gujarati paankhi and edamame beans shaak are some of the scrumptious vegetarian dishes that the outlet serves while non-vegetarians can opt for Kashmiri chilli duck, aloo bukhara qorma, Rajasthani mutton curry, tawa keema and many more such dishes.
When it comes to desserts, you will not be disappointed with the jalebi caviar, pistachio rabri, ashen kulfi with candied nuts and makhan malai.
If you are tempted by their entire menu but can't eat the large portions during a single visit, also on offer is a "Chef's Tasting Menu" separately for non-vegetarians and vegetarians. It has more than 15 courses in small portions for dishes that take their inspiration from different parts of India. You can also match the menu with six different varieties of wine.
However, while opting for this menu, don't be surprised by the little portions because by the time you approach the end, you might find your appetite ditching you.
Where: Masala Library - 21A, Near Le Meridian, Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi-110001
Timings: 12 noon-2.30 p.m. and 7 pm-1 a.m.
Meal for two: Rs 5,200+taxes