It’s only in Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra where you can taste a lineup from each state of India and relish it. Masala Library serves 19-course meal of molecular gastronomy. ( Yes a 19-course meal that will take you to an unforgettable Indian food journey with modern twist ).Strategically placed in central and with a desirable address one could wish for.
Masala Library stands out with all glory in white and golden exteriors making it prettier in evenings. Simply walk in you will be greeted by a glass wine holdings ( having more than 80 brands) and a gigantic chandelier which is a piece of an art . The décor is a fine balance of majestic and minimalistic, somehow it lacked that wow factor. The tables, however, stand out in their simplicity.
Are you still wondering about 19-course meal? Let me tell you, I ate all and still doing great. Each dish served was captive and served in a small offering from each regional cuisine in most polished ways. Let me take you on the journey.
My foodgasm food journey started with amuse bouche (mouth amuser ) which was quite deceiving in looks , looked like a broken egg where the shell was made with ceramic and filled with coconut and mango. It offers a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine.
The first dish to arrive was Medur Vada and clear rasam, the tiniest vada with a small phial of rasam.
Second is a Deconstructed Samosa, delicious and crisp. It comes with a strip of puff pastry topped with potatoes, peas, tamarind and green chutney, looking nothing but drawing palette of an artist.
The journey continues and a little Goa is presented in front of us as Pirada Cheese Poe . Pirad is a famous guava cheese from goa which was placed in the peel of rambutan fruit accompanied by a miniature cheese poee, a pliant bread from the beach state.
Charcoal bhajia, out favorite. Mumbai special onion bhajiya variant which comes smoked and almost burnt with some brilliant smoky flavours served with bell pepper sauce.
Nadir Churma, a simple dish to naked eyes but the story and hardwork put behind assembling it is persuasive. Coming from the land of Kashmir , the fried lotus stem served with the traditional radish-walnut chutney put together on a stone hand picked from dal lake in Kashmir.
Farmer’s stable is another amusing dish that takes back to real Indian food. Consist of a bite (Tukda) of bajra roti stuffed with caramelized onion and served with hand churned white butter. The dish was so simple yet left a long-lasting effect.
Mushroom Chai is a runway runner , a chai I wish i could wake up to. It was light delicious soup with dehydrated mushrooms and truffle oil dried into crumbs.
The Pesto Kebab with tandoori tomato and parmesan papad was another stealer , made out of pesto sauce with mouth melting texture went well with the flavours of tomato foam.
Torai Kebab with torai crisp on top as a garnish was another experimental dish to make people fall in love with torai. Did the chef succeed? Yes , but not completely.
Kuttu Roti Pol Sambhal, originally a Srilankan based dish which was a mix of flaky bread and tomato based vegetables sprinkled with jhal muri .One could clearly taste the flavours of the south due to the added mustard seeds and curry leave and use of coconut.
Now, that we were down with 10 dishes , each of it was usual and remarkable .The modernization Chef has given to regional Indian cuisines and tried to change the dynamics of it .Most dishes were bit sized just to wet your palate and make you longing for more.Now it was a turn of sorbet, (frozen dessert ) which was made of the Kala khatta chuski, it had anardana and kala namak just to help you for better digestion and make space for other 9 servings.
In mains , option among few dishes was given. I decided to go with Green Saag with Steamed Gatta, a duo from Punjab and Rajasthan. The saag was well made , and gatte was mouth melting. Doing justice to each cuisine and in turn creating something applauding .
Another dish I went for was Mushroom Souffle with Truffle Saffron curry, a beautiful crisp ball made out of mushroom, with boiled mushroom on the side served with a silky mushroom mouse. Texture and flavours of all three variants mushrooms on were different but the flavours is so empowering for my palate I couldn’t relish it like other dishes.
No Indian meal comes to an end without Indian curry, the three basic curry onion & tomato curry ( One used in paneer butter masala ) , cashew nut nut curry or Korma gravy ( Malai curry ) and spinach curry ( hara saag) served with 2 variants of bread, one was laccha parantha of north Indian and another one tingmo bread, steamed bread from north-eastern part of India.
From Chhattisgarh, we were served the famous Pakodi Dal . A vada shaped pakora dipped in dal with minimal usage of spice.The scallops are just alright and the fermented Pakodi Dal failed to impress.
Kadi with Risotto Rice , a Gujarati cuisine inspired dish. To add the twist risotto rice is cooked with kadi , with a quintessential amount of mustard seeds and flavour. This was the last main course dish. Now , the most awaited part of any meal. Desserts were next up and I couldn’t be more excited.
The Chocolate Mousse was made out of 60% Belgium chocolate. It was covered with a chocolate ganache with a gold leaf contrasting , with an array of chocolate drops. It was a plate reflecting Chef’s compassion.
Ashen Kulfi, the presentation is bang on with missing flavours ! Kulfi is made out of ashes of banana with some real cold center part and there is after burnt smokiness taste you get at the end.
Finally, the show stopper is here ( That’s what I thought ) Jalebi Caviar , where one bite is not enough . Famous Indian dessert presented in deconstructed form. Crisp jalebi in caviar form served with a lighter version of rabdi.
The 19 the course and final one is still yet to go and as they call it a finale , there was drama ( Physics & Chemistry ) involved. On a small block of magnet that levitates in the air was a small dome of white chocolate filled with raspberry. The chocolate instantaneously melts in the mouth with raspberry flavour bursting out.
And with this, our 19-course meal has come to and end. Oh no, wait ! A dried sugar coated orange slice or a natural candy was the final flag off .
Totally blown with innovative use of molecular gastronomy and deconstruction techniques , beautiful presentation , taking care of details. Indian food finally goes for a makeover to shed the heavy, oily and spicy facade.
Note : What we tasted was a Chef Tasting menu ( Vegetarian ) . They have a separate a la carte menu also if you are looking to try out specific dishes.