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When you think of fine Indian cuisine, Masala Library is definitely one of the first names to appear in ones mind.
With their high quality standards, premium ingredients and their innate understanding of flavour and texture they have managed to carve a niche for themselves in the Mumbai restaurant scene which no other has been able to match.
We first saw the use of molecular gastronomy in Indian cuisine by Jiggs Kalra and many restaurants have tried to emulate it ever since.
Although it has been the endeavour of various restaurants to reach this quality and standard I believe that none of them stand a patch on Masala Library.
I have visited the restaurant numerous times but this review covers my best experience so far.
Instead of ordering a la carte I decided to try the Chefs Tasting Menu.
Every great meal must begin with a soup and so did this one. Masala Library is known for its innovations and delicious concoctions and this was nothing short of that. This was no ordinary shorba, it was a soup of the popular Parsi preparation Patrani Machhi. If the idea wasn’t brilliant enough to blow you away, I can assure you that the flavours were!
A slice of perfectly cooked fish served with a delicate and flavourful lemon and coriander broth with a little bowl of buttered and spiced edamame.
This was followed by a tasting plate of curry leaf and pepper prawns, thayir saddam and banana crisps. This little plate was definitely a combination of all the best things from South India. The traditional Tamil curd rice, sliced banana chips and prawns flavoured with kadi patta or curry leaves definitely made for a great flavour combination.
Our starters comprised the bacon wrapped tandoori morel, galawat kebab, tawa Boti kebab and warqi paratha and the braised mutton chaamp.
The bacon wrapped tandoori morel was definitely one of the highlights of the meal. Perfectly cooked bacon, wrapped around a mix flavourful assorted mushrooms served with a sweet relish to compliment the savory of the bacon and paired with a lotus stem crisp. What a perfectly balanced appetizer. Never before have textures complimented each other this beautifully.
This was followed by some delicious meaty galawat kebabs that melted away in our mouths seconds after they arrived and the deliciously marinated tawa Boti kebabs.
The next dish was definitely the Best Dish of the Evening and one of the finest staters I’ve laid my hands on in any Indian restaurant in Mumbai.
The Braised Mutton Chaamp with a maple and kokum glaze and micro popcorn is an absolute crackers of a dish. Crisp with the micro popcorn and sweet because of the maple glaze this is one Chaamp that’s a true Champ. Highly recommended to every mutton lover out there who doesn’t mind forgetting his fine dine manners for a few minutes to dive into this beauty!
Before the arrival of our main course we were served some Mishti Doi pops as palette cleansers. This frozen version of the popular Bengali Sweet definitely served as a wonderful break before the onset of the main course.
Our main course comprised of the pan seared rawas served with crab and spinach poriyal and Malaya curry as well as the home style chicken curry. Additionally we also ordered the Kashmiri chilly duck and The mushroom soufflé balls with a Fungi Sauce.
Unfortunately the home style chicken curry did not seem to make it for me in terms of flavour as the chicken was undercooked and the gravy distinctly tasted of raw tomato although this little folly was more than adequately made up for by the dishes that were to follow. The highlight of the main course was undoubtedly the Kashmiri Chilly Duck with Aloo Bukhara Gravy and Veri Crumbs. The duck itself had a sweetish tinge and together with the thick gravy made for the perfect main course.
The Mushroom Soufflé balls served with a rich and flavorful mushroom sauce definitely maintained its hold despite being placed amongst the delicious non vegetarian preparations. The crumb fried mushroom soufflé balls were crisp on the outside and flawlessly smooth on the inside and paired with the thick fungi sauce made for an absolute cracker of a dish.
Although the rawas served with crab and spinach poriyal lacked the flavour of crab, I enjoyed the rawas in itself and its wonderful Malaya Curry.
The main course was served with Tadke wali dahi and Dal Bukhara on the side both of which complimented the meal well.
We ended our meal on a sweet note with the Rasmalai Tres Leches and the Jalebi Caviar with Rabdi.
The Rasmali Tres Leches is an ingenious cross between the signature Indian dessert Rasmalai and the three layered milk cake Tres Leche.
The Jalebi caviar is a signature of Masala library and the micro crisp jalebi balls together with the Rabdi truely create wonderful textures and are fabulous to taste as well.
Masala Library also serves up some great drinks. Although I’m not a fan of curry lead at all, their burnt curry leaf martini is an absolute stunner.
Whether appetizers, main course, dessert or even the periodic palette cleansers, every single dish prepared in this kitchen is of supreme quality and absolutely delicious.
Review by Sanskaara Lalwani