Skip to main content

Magic Library

Every year on my birthday, the most important decision is on where to eat. Last year, it was the excellent spuntino in London's soho for lunch followed by an equally spectacular hix for dinner. So when the day rolled in a couple of weeks back, I wanted to pick another restaurant with a wow factor.

Jiggs Kalra's masala library has been on my wish list ever since it opened a few months back. But turns out it's super popular and you can't call them up a couple of days in advance and expect a reservation. Thankfully, a last minute table did open up and masala library is where I found myself for my birthday dinner.

The 9 course chef's tasting menu starts with an amuse bouche of sev puri shot and a cheddar cheese pao. Loved the bun, while the sev puri was more show than flavour.

The meal then started with a mushroom chai. A bit of mad Heston like touch here - the servers bring in tea cups where they add dried mushrooms (tea) and white truffle oil powder (looks like creamer). The mushroom consommé is then poured over to complete the soup. I didn't much care for the dried mushrooms but the consommé had an intense flavour that made it one of my favourites for the day.

Then come in a succession of starters - all presented well and delicious but hardly memorable. What's truly memorable is the mishti doi sorbet that comes as a palate cleanser before the mains. It shows up in a tiny box as a lollipop that's truly delicious.

I frankly didn't like the mains. The dal is your signature Kalra and quite near perfect but the veggies were a bit meh and the kulchas overwhelmed by their stuffing. The desserts are presented creatively - jalebi shaped like caviar and gajar halwa pyramids surrounded by gajar halwa icecream. Fun, but not something I'd go back for.

What I will go back for are all the sides and all the little touches like the pan candy floss and the churan box. Masala Library may not be perfect but it certainly makes for a delightful evening.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old. That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit. Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fru

Of Brun and Bun Maska

There is more to Bombay's breads than the pao that goes into pao bhaji and vada pao. There's Brun. and there's bun. We will get there. First, you have to get to know the city's Parsis. And Iranis, who are also Zoroastrians, but came to city a little later, in the late 19th or early 20th century. And when they came, they brought with them these little cafes that dot the city. I am no expert on Irani chai cafes. And I can't tell you whether Yazdani Bakery will provide you the best experience or Kyani's. But I can tell you a few things you need to ignore when you get there. Appearances don't matter; so ignore the fact that the marble/glass top tables and the wooden chairs look a bit dilapidated. Also ignore the rundown look the place sports. Instead, get yourself settled. And order a bun muska. This one's familiar to you as a first cousin of the soft hamburger bun. It's similar, but just a tad bit sweeter. Maska, of course, is the generous dollop o

Kadhi Chawal

I just can't think of what to write today. That's what my absolute favorite meal does to me, I just want to stop talking and dig right in. So I won't ramble and go straight on the recipe for kadhi. First, make the pakoras that would go in the kadhi. Slice an onion lengthwise. Make a batter with 1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan), salt, red chilli powder and water. Dip onions in this batter and deep fry until crisp. Keep aside. Now blend 1 cup yogurt and 1/3 cup besan into a paste. Add 3-4 cups water to make a very thin blend. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan. Add a tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ajwain (carom seeds) and methre (fenugreek seeds). Let splutter for a few seconds. Now add a large onion, cut lengthwise into thin slices and cook until browned lightly. Pour in the yogurt/besan mix and add 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp red chilli powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for at least half an hour. You have to stir this occasio