Sometimes repetition in food is good. You know exactly what you want and don’t have to waste time, money and taste buds on trying something new that you may not like.
So was our case this time when a birthday celebration had us booking a table at Masala Library. This being our 4th family visit to the restaurant we knew exactly what we wanted. The size ‘XL’ restaurant has been delighting its customers with some really innovative ways of serving the age old recipes.
After being escorted to our table the first thing we were served was amuse bouche – I actually had to look it up on the net; it literally means ‘mouth amuser’, something to open your taste buds – with mango flavour sitting prettily amidst a cumin reduction. You have to gulp it down like a shot. You can actually feel the thin skin break and the contents ooze out onto your tongue. It’s an experience.
This was followed by the soups, the tomato soup and the wild mushroom chai. I absolutely love their tomato soup. It’s served with a basil matthi, a thin drip of basil reduction and bocconcini cheese with half a cherry tomato. It’s the best I have ever had. The mushroom soup is presented in a unique way. They serve it like chai. The dried mushrooms mimic the tea leaves that are put in a teacup followed by the mushroom soup which looks just like black tea poured from a tea pot. It’s a fun way to have a soup and obviously it is tasty. And equally obviously it is a hit with the rest of the family. Sorry in my haste to enjoy my soup I forgot to take the pic of the wild mushroom chai. 🙂
The starters came next. Murg malai tikka – good, tandoori paneer barrels – good.
But the highlights were the tandoori tiger prawns and the bacon wrapped morels.
The prawns were big in size, well marinated and cooked perfectly.
The bacon wrapped morels were again superbly presented, the bacon was tender and tasted yum and the morels (kind of mushrooms) were nice too and they were accompanied by crispy fried lotus stems which looked like thin banana chips and had such a distinct taste.
All this yumminess was being washed down by the virgin burnt curry leaf martini, red berry shrub and the masala library punch. The martini deserves a special mention; if you like the taste of curry leaves this is the best drink. It has the right balance of sweet, sour and the taste of the curry leaf is awesome. I ended up having two of them.
Before the main course they serve a sorbet to cleanse your palate. The sorbet is also very tasty; it is frozen mishti doi on a stick. Lick it and enjoy the cool sweet flavour.
Since we were very keen on two desserts our main course was the simple home style chicken curry with tandoori roti and peari barley khichdi. The curry was good as would be expected but not exceptional. Didn’t like the khichdi.
Now, the real reason we were here; their two exceptional desserts. The first one was called ‘childhood memories’ and my kids had memories of eating it the last time we were here almost a year ago. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on it. It consists of five elements on a long tray. In the treasure chest is the glucose biscuit sandwich with ice-cream stuffed in between, next is the banana sandwich drizzled with honey followed by a shot glass with mint sticks and next to it stands a creamer full of smooth molten chocolate and last but not the least is the bowl full of edible mud. They enjoyed it thoroughly and tried to stuff themselves as much as was kid-ly possible and yet between the two of them couldn’t finish it. So if you order this make sure you have someone to share it with.
The other one is ‘jalebi caviar rabri’. Its taste is unique, its presentation is unique and the experience of eating it is unique. The jalebi is tiny little dots like caviar, served alongside rabri with saffron foam and slivers of pishta in a big shell anchored on a plate with dough. The crispy crunchy texture of jalebi is perfectly offset by the thickened texture of rabri. The saffron foam adds to visual as well as olfactory appeal. The whole dish is simply heaven. Again you may not be able to finish the whole thing alone so have a loved one to share it with.
The meal was rounded off by the ever favourite – of some – the cotton candy.
The whole affair took us 1.5 hrs, so don’t be in a hurry. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere, the service and the drama. Plenty to keep you busy as you look around and see what is being served on the other tables. Our servers for the day were service supervisors Agnelo and Pradeep. Both knew the menu in and out and during our meal Agnelo was kind enough to remind me once to take a pic of a dish when I would have greedily dug into it.
My only complaint is that this was a birthday celebration for us and when I had told them about this at the time of booking the table I was informed that since they do not have an attached bakery they will not be able to provide a cake and we were free to bring our own. My point is this : I don’t want a cake but the least such a renowned and fine-dine restaurant can do is wish the person / offer a flower / have the manager come over and take special interest – this in no way reflects on the service, it was very good – / offer a complimentary dessert or make the dessert the birthday boy ate complimentary. There are many ways in which a person can be made to feel special on their birthday/anniversary and after shelling out a bomb this is the least they can do. It would be wonderful if the management could look into it.
Also its time to introduce a few more WOW dishes, it’s been four years since we have been having mushroom chai and jalebi caviar and rabri. Don’t remove these but add a couple of more.