Rest : Masala LibraryMeal : Dinner
Loc : BKC
Ever since Masala Library opened its doors a few weeks ago, i have been trying to tee up an evening there but thwarted each time by distance and fellow diners.
Finally this past week on a complete lark, we tried to get a table at Masala Library but were told they were booked solid and only could be seated at 1030 or try our luck as walk ins. So we booked us a table at 9pm at Ping Pong as a back up and showed up at Masala Library at 8.15 and had a table by 8.30
The place has a fairly standard, fine dine decor to it, nothing special but its certainly not bad. I found racks of empty wine bottles at the entrance to be quite weird. It's called Masala Library which speaks of a more traditional, studied place but the cuisine is much more nouevau as is the presentation. Perhaps replacing the rack of empty bottles with some books might be a better idea.
That aside, the little bread they served at the start was delicious. Slightly sweet and a tad cheesy in its finish. these went quickly.
The next thing we got was this diabolical papad platter, comprised of 5-6 different kids of pappad with 8 chutneys, its a papad lovers delight.
the amuse bouche was a de constructed papdi chaat where the a dollop of yoghurt with chutney and sev sat at the bottom of a shot glass and the papdi was served on the side. Drink up and then bite into the papdi where the taste takes shape.a great idea and it hits the mark taste wise. only complaint being that the yoghurt can congeal on the bottom and needs prodding which is ultimately a non issue.
the pesto kebab was our first starter, an interesting idea and while the kebab tasted pretty good, the taste of pesto was missing. I liked the kebab anyway though.
our second starter was the gucchi with truffle oil. this was just stunning. a bunch of different things happening here and all of them good. it certainly didn't taste like anything i had before.
while we waited for our main's they brought out these awesome vada pav's, again, playing with the ingredients here, adding cheddar etc, to give it a newer flavour, it was indeed delicious.
the palate cleanser was next, frozen yoghurt with strawberry/rasberry. boy was this good. rabdiseque taste.
the mains range from quirky to traditional, we went for the paneer lababdar which was pretty delicious, creamy but the taste of tomato had been dialled down.
the gucchi naan was again morels, cheese and truffle oil. very heavy.
the black daal was again, spot on, like a dal should be (i still think dal bukhara at ITC Kebabs n Kurries is the greatest)
also had the sweetish sheermal which is a bread one does not see often. in fact the last time i had a go at one was a few years ago at Shalimar on Kemps Corner when they had some festival going on.
we had two splendid desserts, the thandai creme brulee and the ghevar cheesecae. Both ideas are quite out there, they work well and make for an interesting take, however they are very different from the original underlying desserts as well.
we ended the meal with paan flavoured candy floss.
Masala Library certainly is a twist in the tale for Indian cuisine, nowhere near as radical as Vinit Bhatia's Zia (which has been hit & miss) the experimentation with ingredients and serving works well espcially because it has been limited to appetizers and desserts. The main's for the most part are traditionally executed.
The food, the concept and the flavours are well imagined and executed and it would be interesting to see what older diners make of it.
The service is fairly quick but i think a couple of things need to be ironed out, such as the empty bottles, the answer to the question where is the library and also, that the chef's need to have their amuse bouche ready to go. We were a table of six but were given only five of the vada pav's and the chef didnt have an extra. We shared our portions quite grudgingly.
Overall, i'm impressed. i hope they start doing a 8-10 course tasting menu because there is plenty here i would like to try.
Food : 9/10
Service : 7/10
Damage : 8500 for 6 without drinks.