I had Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra on my wish list for many years. Recently a friend visited this place and recommended it just for the experience alone. So, I decided to go with my wife (but we tried all dishes from each other’s plates). I made a booking at Zomato for the table, but you cannot get discounts of EazyDiner if the booking is made by Zomato. I confirmed on the phone if the Chef’s tasting menu is included in the discounts, and they confirmed. And EazyDiner slots are limited. So, I cancelled my Zomato booking and booked via EazyDiner for the next day. Half the tables were empty most of the time, so probably they are keeping only limited numbers for online booking via EazyDiner.
The place looked great from outside and inside. The interiors were good with dim lights. The tables and chairs were well maintained. Right away I told the waiter that I will go for the Chef’s tasting menu. I took the veg one and nonveg for my wife.
Amuse Bouche: It was mango in coconut water. Both flavors were subtle, and I liked the Amuse bouche I had at Farzi cafe a couple of years back more than this. 3/5 on taste.
Vada pav: This was given to us as the jhalmuri cracker dish was not available. It was a soft bun topped with chutneys and inside there was potato filling representing the vada. The taste was typical vada pav we all have had over the years. 3.5/5 on taste.
Dahi Bada: It was Dahi vada in which the vada inside was having boondi as well. It was topped with dahi in the form of foam. The taste was average and no way closer to Dahi vada of any decent chaat place. 3/5 on taste.
Farmer’s staple 4.0: The consistency was like a well-made vade you get along with chicken in most Maharashtrian restaurants. The taste was good. 3.5/5 on taste.
Mushroom chai: A mushroom soup made with a different technique and consistency than a typical mushroom soup. Wild mushrooms were put in cup, truffle oil which was converted into powder with molecular gastronomy was added and finally hot mushroom broth was added which made the whole combination into a soup which looked like tea. The taste of the soup was good with nice flavors of mushrooms. 4/5 on taste.
Curry leaf and garlic prawns with thyair satham: Excellently cooked prawn which was super tender. The masala was excellent. Foam which represented thyair satham did not add many flavor to the dish. Still good in taste. 4.5/5 on taste.
Pesto kebab with smoked tomato: The paneer tikka looked like a piece of medium rare meat. It was topped with pesto sauce, parmesan cracker, and smoked tomato in form of foam. The taste was good if all parts were together. 3.5/5 on taste.
Peri Peri Chicken Tikka: Again, a tender piece of chicken with flavors like typical chicken tikka. 4.5/5 on taste.
Chevre kebab with roast pepper ketchup: Among the veg menu for me this was one of the best items. The outside of the kebab was crispy and inside was soft. The taste was particularly good as well. 4/5 on taste.
Multan paneer tikka with tandoori pepper salsa: It was a soft paneer tikka topped with green chutney and tandoori pepper salsa on the side. The taste was like Malai paneer tikka. 4/5 on taste.
Braised Lamb Chops with Maple and kokum glaze: This was the best part of the meal for me. The size of the lamb chop looked huge but the meat in it was worth 2 bites. The highlight was the masala in which it was covered, made of maple and kokum glaze. It gave the lamb a sweetish and sour taste with the outside of the lamb made crispy and tender insides. Overall flavor was great. I could not do justice to this dish with spoon and fork, so eat this with hands in typical Indian style and enjoyed. 5/5 on taste.
Mishti doi sorbet popsicle: It was more like ice cream than anything else. Bite sized with jelly on top. Not too sweet. Very good in taste. I had 3 of these, 1 earlier between the meals and 2 in the end. 4.5/5 on taste.
Prawns chettinad masala with prawn cracker: Recently only I had chicken chettinad at Thangabali in Mahim, which is counted as one of the best in Mumbai for south Indian non-veg food. This prawn chettinad was better than Thangabali. The gravy was thicker, creamier, and tastier. Prawns were tender as expected and can be broken with little pressure. Prawn crackers added nice texture and flvors to the dish. 4.5/5 on taste.
Spinach and cottage cheese kofta with methi malai curry: It was malai kofta in simple words. The koftas were well cooked and soft. The gravy was not very flavorful and a bit sweetish for my liking. 3.5/5 on taste.
Dal makhani: A thick and well-made dal makhani but not among the best I had. 4/5 on taste.
Indian breads: We were given tandoori roti and paratha. I think they should have given us the option to choose naan as well. Roti and paratha both were well made, soft, and good in taste. 4.5/5 on taste.
Malai Chop with Wood Sorrel: It was a sweetish bun with hollow inside filled with malai and topped with jaggery flavored sauce. The taste was decent. 3/5 on taste.
Jalebi Caviar with pistachio rabri: I had read so many reviews of this dish on Zomato and everywhere else and was hyped about it. But the more hype, the more disappointment. Jalebi was converted into small balls to represent caviar and there was pistachio rabri surrounding it. The taste was ordinary and disappointing. Inferior in taste to any jalebi rabri I had till now. The rabri was too liquidy as well. Jalebi did not have flavors of jalebi as such. I was telling my wife that these people should just add Amul rabri in the dish to make it more flavorful. 2/5 on taste.
I always judge the food for flavors more than ambiance, service, and experience. The taste was not up to my expectations overall, especially for the vegetarian menu. If you have had food at some good places in Mumbai, and know which dish is great at a particular place, Masala Library will be underwhelming. None of the dishes were the best or even one of the best I had. Also, it should have been clarified at the beginning if the dishes can be repeated or not.
Overall, the experience was good. Without the discounts the Chef’s tasting menu would have cost us Rs. 2875 and Rs. 2645 respectively for non-veg and veg menu. After discounts from EazyDiner I got both for Rs. 3345. For this discounted amount I would happily recommend the restaurant and the menu to anyone who likes to try out diverse types of food but difficult for Rs. 5500.
Taste: 4/5 for non-veg and 3.5/5 for veg
Value for money: 4.5/5 with discounts, 3/5 with original pricing