Restaurant Review – Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra

Two days before Masala Library threw its doors open to the public I visited the fine dining restaurant for lunch. Zorawar Kalra, son of Jiggs Kalra accompanied me and guided me through the tasting menu crafted by the young Chefs Himanshu Saini and Saurabh Udinia.
Masala Library is the new addition to the ever growing list of fine dining options at Bandra Kurla Complex. The brightly lit interiors, beige chairs and stone textured walls might not leave you awestruck but one look at the menu and you know that the restaurant means business when it comes to food. The restaurant focuses completely on Indian regional cuisine enhancing it using modern techniques.

As we sat down to begin our meal our server brought a bottle of hand sanitizer. I realized that the staff takes after their boss when Zorawar produced a small sanitizer bottle which he carries around in his pocket. The meal began with amuse bouche, bite sized display of molecular gastronomy. We were first served Yoghurt spheres & papdi chaat where the yogurt was converted into a soft ball, topped with chutney, sev and micro greens and accompanied with a flat papdi or cracker. The yogurt ball burst in our mouths releasing yogurt and green chutney; a complete scientific take on the street food keeping all the flavours intact. Next arrived Sevpuri on the go made with wild rice puffs served on a miniature cycle rickshaw handmade by craftsmen in Delhi.

It’s not just the menu at Masala Library which takes inspiration from scientific cooking, there bar menu includes molecular mixology based cocktails too. I tried the Star anise martini – gin based cocktail topped with star anise foam. Surprisingly despite its strong flavour star anise didn’t overpower the drink and only gave a subtle hint of its existence. I was surprised when our server appeared with a tray carrying cups, a tea-pot, powdered milk and tea leaves because I was clearly not expecting tea in the middle of our meal. The tea was actually mushroom soup or Wild mushroom chai (Rs 325), the tea leaves were dehydrated mushrooms, milk powder was deconstructed truffle oil and the liquid was mushroom consommé. When mixed with the consommé the truffle oil got back to its original form creating a layer of oil over the clear soup making it a perfect comfort food.

The chefs here have played a lot with flavours here to create a dish which truly gives you the essence of that particular cuisine. I loved their version of curd rice; Curry leaf and pepper prawns, thayir sadam, banana crisp (Rs 375) which was served as a salad topped with peppered prawns. It came in a handmade shell placed on a log of a real tree. Environmentalists need not worry because I was told that it’s a recycled piece. The curd rice topped with roasted lentils and curry leaves cut through the spiciness of prawns. The dish was served with a side of banana chips. From the North region we tried the Gilawat kebab, tawa tikka, varqi paratha (Rs 525) made by the cook from the famous Tunday Kebabi in Lucknow. The kebabs were flavourful with a perfect melt in mouth texture and were topped with very tender mutton boti and bite sized parathas. My next indulgence was a meet lover’s delight, Tandoori champ (Rs 595) – a perfectly braised lamb chop with maple and kokum glaze. The meat came off the bone beautifully, had a crispy layer and was flavoured with the sweetness of maple and sourness of kokum. The surprise element in it was the sweet mango pickle which is a regular in any North Indian household. The second drink Curry leaf martini was an interesting take on vodka based martini flavoured with burnt curry leaves.

The main course had the authentic dishes of different regions presented in the most beautiful way. We were served Meen moilee (Rs 610)– a Kerela style fish curry made with river sole, Prawn balchao kulcha (Rs 375) – North Indian bread stuffed with Goan style prawn preparation, Dal makhani (Rs 395), Anar and mint raita garnished with rose spheres (Rs 210), Bhindi Jaipuri (Rs 410) – crispy fried okra on a base of choorma with papad ki sabzi. This last dish was a lovely mix of three Rajasthani dishes making it a blend of various flavours; the sweetness of choorma, crunchiness of okra and sourness of the curry in papad ki subzi. All of this was served with a bread basket which had traditional breads like the Lucknowi sheermal (Rs 125), Persian taftan Rs 125) and Kashmiri bakarkhani (Rs 125). I was dying to eat sheermal since ages but sadly no place makes this bread in Mumbai. Now, I know of a place which does.

I got the taste of molecular gastronomy once again with desserts. The Chocolate (Rs 1000) – brownies with chocolate mousse added a little drama to the meal where the Chef converted mousse into an instant ice-cream by pouring liquid nitrogen over it. The ice-cream was then shattered into smaller pieces and served with hot chocolate. The good old Gajar halwa (Rs 375) was a three way carrot with an addition of gajar halwa flavoured ice-cream and carrot foam. But it wasn’t the scientific cooking that impressed me in the dessert section. I was blown over by the Indian version of cheesecake, the Ghewar cheesecake (Rs 375). The absolutely sinful dessert had a base of ghewar – a Rajasthani sweet, topped with a layer of cheesecake, garnished with flaky rabdi and pistachios and almond chikki and finally thick rabdi poured over it. The combination of various flavours and textures makes it one of the most innovative desserts in the city.

Apart from the varied menu they also serve Pan flavoured candy floss, Nasik orange sorbet with kafir lime frozen air, Frozen mishit doi popsicles as palate cleansers. The Chefs at Masala Library have played with every sense to give an experience which pleases your eyes, nose and most importantly the taste buds. Masala Library takes Indian cuisine to a different level and from what we’ve seen; their aim to be in the Michelin Guide doesn’t look far.
Must try: Curry leaf and pepper prawns, thayir sadam, banana crisp, Tandoori champ, Ghewar cheesecake

Meal for two: Rs 2500+taxes (without alcohol)

Ground Floor, First International Finance Centre,
Bandra Kurla Complex, Opposite Sofitel Hotel
Phone: 022 6642 4142

Facebook: Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra
Twitter: @MasalaLibrary


  1. Viewed the photographs of some astonishing recipes above. The image of the Sevpuri and Puffed Rice on the cycle rickshaw was very appealing to my eyes and has revolted a 'craving' in me (Navratra Fasts are on these days)…. Wondering who in Mumbai I can catch hold of, who can treat me at Masala Library ….. My Heartfelt Wishes for the success of this venture ….. CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!

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