Creative Dining at Masala Library

Part theatre and part fine dining that kept us on the edge of our seats at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. Definitely worth a try if you’re an adventurous eater.

You know it’s going to be a good year when your birthday gifts include a special dinner out – my sister in law had truly indulged us this year with the wine-paired tasting menu at Masala Library. This restaurant is so hyped, with so much press and PR, that the bar had been set pretty high.



The interiors did not disappoint.


And we were off . . . prosecco is always a good start. This was the  Piccini Prosecco Doc Vino Spumante, extra dry, from Veneto in Italy.


But we can’t perform a surgery if we’re drinking? I don’t know. Why are these tools being placed on the table?


Raw eggs. Not! This was a shot of tender coconut water with mango jelly in the centre – amuse bouche in true Masala Library style.


Vada with clear rasam that you tip over into your mouth. So good.


The not so humble poee bread with Manchego cheese.


We were asked to guess what North Indian street food this was and we couldn’t. I’ll spare you the time wastage, it’s a deconstructed samosa.


Charcoal infused onion bhajjias with a red pepper sauce. Delicious.


Nadir churma, crispy lotus stem atop a walnut and radish chutney.


The ‘farmer’s staple’ – caramelised onion bajre ki roti with fresh butter. Who are these farmers?


Our first course was paired with the Peter Lehmann Weighbridge Chardonnay, from Barossa in Australia. The second was paired with De Bortoli Shiraz from Yarra Valley also in Australia.


Our charming and extremely well informed server, Hemant, telling us about the mushroom chai.


Dehyrated mushrooms with truffle oil powder and boiling water in a kettle.


Just an explosion of mushroom in this tisane – we had to have seconds.


Chèvre cheese kebab with roasted pepper ketchup. As good as it sounds.


Kottu Roti atop Pol Sambhol.


Roasted tori (ridge gourd), with a tori crisp. Really good!


Pesto kebab with smoked tomato. After this a glass of Miguel Torres San Medien Sauvignon Blanc from Central Valley in Chile.


A sweet and sour, Hajmola-esque sorbet to clean the palette. Now for vino round 5 with the main course, Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington, USA.


My favourite dish, a saag made from seasonal greens with steamed gatta. The gatta just melted in your mouth, and the greens were delicious.




Mushroom souffle with truffle saffron curry. Couldn’t move much at this point. I’ll let Deval take over for the non-vegetarian dishes and dessert and post dessert . . .


Does this look like a Galauti Kebab? With “we don’t need no education” playing in my head, I ate my first bite. If a galouti is meant to be soft, this version went a step further. The texture is airy and the mince just coats your tongue, delivering all the taste and spice, before dissolving into nothingness. Deceptively light.


I haven’t eaten too much north eastern food, so I was very excited to try the Naga pork in braised black bean and bamboo shoot. This was simply incredible. Easily the best dish on the menu for me.


Next was the mutton chaap with a maple and kokum glaze. If you like a sweet and savoury pairing, this is the dish for you.


This dish is creditworthy for the pairing of tawa keema with pickled bitter gourd. What I noticed (and loved) was the karela which was treated to remove excess bitterness. Contrary to what you would expect, the karela turns out tangy and goes very well with the keema – so much flavour.


The mizo (after Mizoram) stew comes across as a simple dish but is really hearty. It comes in a dramatic stone bowl and is served with black rice which gives it an indigenous feel. I asked for seconds!


By this stage of the dinner, it would help to walk off what you have had, which is what I did. Waiting for me at the table was the Radhuni sea bass. Beautifully cooked with a layer of celery seeds and served with fried saag. The favours didn’t overpower the incredibly moist fish.


Bread platter with three traditional Indian gravies. By now I was descending into a food coma.


Dal with badi. I could only have a few spoons of it – I was just too full what with all the wine and courses. I wish I could have had it the next day because it was very tasty.


Ashen kulfi along with other accompaniments. The chef had used charcoal to give the kulfi its black colour.


Jalebi is not something you would expect to get in even traditional Indian restaurants, so I think the chef did a brilliant job with the boondi-style jalebi, scratch that, ‘jalebi caviar’ served with pista rabri and saffron foam. This is a combination of all my favourites from a halwai.


Coming close to the end – we had gravity defying Chocolate truffles! I have to say that the service is a big part of the experience. My compliments to the servers waiting on our table. They took the time to explain what was special in all the dishes, how it was prepared, which part of the country it was from, what was the inspiration. They even quizzed us on what we thought the dish might be. We were trumped on more than one occasion. Love it when good food is served with pizzaz.


Dinner not over yet, though. Candied oranges were a nice citrusy mouth freshener.


Did I mention that all the courses were paired with some of the finest wines. I counted seven in total! Three things to remember when eating at Masala Library: take your time, listen to the servers explaining what the dishes are, and take a cab after dinner. If the food doesn’t get you, the wine will!

Masala Library, 21A, Near Le Meridian, Janpath, New Delhi 110001. Call them at 092051 80003.