MASALA LIBRARY BY JIGGS KALRA

Ever since Jiggs Kalra’s Masala Library opened at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, it’s a restaurant I had always wanted to visit. I have never been to any Masala Library’s Indian outposts, so I had nothing to go on except for Jiggs Kalra’s reputation, hype and hearsay. So when a foodie friend and I were going to meet for a long waited catch up – the choice was made simple by the fact that both of us wanted to go to the same place.

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Masala Library has occupied the space left vacant by Atul Kocchar’s Rang Mahal – but unfortunately, they haven’t refurbished it – so you still have the massive pillar like things in the middle and it’s still quite a dark interior.

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In terms of what we had – we made the decision simple by settling for the 12-course Tasting Menu (priced at AED 245 for the non-vegetarian version).

 

We kicked off with an amuse bouche of coconut water and a smattering of mango pulp.

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As part of the SNACK section of the menu we got to try:

Deconstruction of Samosa – Three tiny dots arranged symmetrically on a puff pastry strip atop a banana leaf on a straw mat was what was simply a deconstructed version of the Punjabi Samosa. It was a small bite packed with nostalgia and a carnival of flavours.

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Dahi Bada – This was a lightly whipped yogurt served with a soft and savory sponge that elevates its street-food status.

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Jhaal Moori Cookie, Ghoogni Chaat – The jhaal moori cookie was the cousin of the better known bhel puri – spicy puffed rice made into a crispy cookie; while the ghoogni chaat was a milder eastern Indian version of chhole (curried chickpeas).

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Farmer’s Staple – A a half piece of bajra roti (bread made from pearl millet) stuffed with caramelized onion and served with a tiny dollop of white butter. Delicious

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As part of the SOUP section of the menu we got to try:

Mushroom Chai – This was ‘made’ while we watched – a tea-ceremony with dehydrated mushrooms and some white truffle powder poured over by black mushroom consommé and presented as ‘chai’ – it was delicious – and although I may have been tempted to aask for more, I refrained – I knew there was a lot more coming.

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As part of the APPETIZERS section of the menu we got to try:

Caviar Malai Prawn, with Pink Peppercorn – This was a single prawn with pink peppercorns that tried to reinvent the Bengali malai curry

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Chicken Tikka – Not just one style, but chicken tikka prepared three ways – it was both familiar and enjoyable.

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Chili and Ginger Salmon roast, gur ken chutney

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As part of the MAINS section of the menu we got to try:

Rajasthani mutton curry – I enjoyed the thick gravy and shell kachori and there was a slight spice after taste, that wanted you to dig into the next bite.

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As part of the DESSERT section of the menu we got to try:

Jalebi caviar – Pearls (caviar!) of traditional jalebi dessert alongside a light saffron foam with pistachio rabri (reduced milk with pistachio) – once mixed, the jalebi taste stood out but the subtleties of the pistachio and saffron were lost on me… and the clam shell it was served in – not the most convenient to navigate a spoonful out of.

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Makhan Malai – This milked based dessert was scooped up quickly and masterfully by me – it was aerated saffron flavoured butter cream with shakkarpara (a sugar-glazed filo crisp).

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Ashen Kulfi – Caused a bit of some oops moments as I tried to navigate my spoon to cut through the frozen kulfi. But once mission was accomplished the  banana ash-coated kulfi ice cream with candied nuts was an interesting combination.

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Finally, it was time for a physics class as we are about to leave. Quantum levitation was used to serve us a Belgian Chocolate Truffle – the illusion of the floating chocolates once again failed me and I think this might have been because it was performed in front of me – so it lost its ‘wow’ factor  pretty quickly (I think it looks better in photos than in reality). More disappointing was the taste of the chocolate itself – they might want to take a few tips from Sprungli!

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Overall, service was great. The food was good. Definitely worth trying it – at least once!

Location: Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, Level 4, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Dubai Open from 6pm – 11:30pm Tel:  +971 4 414 3000

NOTE: I ate at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra on my OWN time and money! The views and opinions expressed on this blog are truly my OWN.