Masala Library, Delhi – An amazing food journey

After being there in my wish list for many months I finally could manage to make my way to the talk of the town, Masala Library. Proudly sitting next to Le meridian hotel, you just cant miss the beautifully done façade of this restaurant. As expected, you instantly get soaked in the simple elegant beauty of the place with every corner impeccably taken care of. A very friendly staff make sure that you get over the initial awe and makes you instantly comfortable with a warm smile and get you seated. I think they must be used to it by now ☺

After prodding around the menu for a while, we settled for the chef’s tasting menu serving 19 different courses paired with 7 different wines. The menu consisted of dishes with some age old recipes from across India – Some re constructed and some de-constructed.

Starting with an AMUSE BOUCHE prepared with coconut milk and mango pulp, served with Piccini prosecco extra dry sparkling wine which was fruity. I would have loved it to be served with some red meat but it worked great.

Then they immediately move you to a different flavor palate, a spicy warm Rasam with a bite sized MADUR VADA. Bang on flavors with a very balanced spices, and this goes for everything else in the menu which I believe has been done keeping in mind the global diners this place attracts.

A deconstructed SAMOSA served in a crispy cracker topped with mashed potatoes and peas with dibs of tamarind and mint chutneys.

Loved the FARMER’s STAPLE, a bajra roti served with fresh white unsalted butter with a filling of caramelized onions, it was a delight to see native Indian cereals getting into main stream fine dine experiences.

The NADRU CHURMA, a crispy lotus stem with a walnut and radish dip was a standout dish.

Accompanied by an aromatic, smooth lehman chardonnay, it was a lovely course, leaving us wanting for more.

A delicious MUSHROOM TEA with dried truffles and exotic mushrooms helped us wash down the food. I could have used a little more of truffle flavors but it was YUM nevertheless.

And then came the GALOUTI KEBAB served with sheermaal, a lightly sweetened bread. The galouti was not shaped as regular kebabs but were served straight out of the mince machine. Interesting presentation, great subtle flavors withouth the usual greasiness.

The CURRY LEAF PRAWNS had the perfect coastal fragrance and flavors and was fresh as a button.

NAGA PORK a dish from made from chillies from Nagaland, Eastern India; I was highly amazed by the mushiness of the pork and the brilliant handling of the chillies.

Simply loved the next dish, a BRAISED MUTTON CHOP, with a sweet tangy glaze of maple and kokum. Loved the perfectly cooked meat and the after taste was heavenly.

The MIZO stew served with authentic Mizoram black rice served hot with delicious chicken is a very filling, soul satisfying dish. It deserves a special mention as I was told that the staff puts in extra efforts to source the original Mizo rice for this dish. Hats off the entire team for such dedication.

By this time I gave up upon the wines and was totally immersed in the food and the stories attached to them which the server recited with extreme precision.

I couldn’t do justice to a delicious, delicately cooked RADHUNI SEA BASS, a Bengali dish cooked in celery topped with crisp Bengali saag. I was getting way too full by this time.

Had a spoonful of the last few dishes and loved the FERMENTED PAKODI DAAL from the Chhatisgarh region. A bit too salty for my taste but it was delicious.

The only two things I tried for dessert were the DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE and WHITE CHOCOLATE BALLS with a centre of blueberry. Both sinfully delicious and any one who likes cocoa must try these. The experience of both these desserts can not be expressed in words so I ll leave it upto you to try them out.

An amazing creation by the veterans who take you through a wonderful food journey supported by some brilliant young guns with top notch ingredients and cutting edge food technologies – That’s Masala Library for me.

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Number 31 – A foodies paradise @ Defence Colony, Delhi

Being a food enthusiast comes with an advantage, the decision of every dine-out opportunity lies exclusively with you. One such evening with friends took us to the buzzing Defence Colony market. I was here after almost two years and was amazed to see the veterans rubbing shoulders with some really amazing new restaurants in the vicinity.

And we chanced upon Number 31 (Goes after the address of the building its housed in). A very charming and brightly lit place, with a lot of seating options spread across three floors, one of them being a roof top. Always being a sucker for open spaces, we chose to be on the rooftop (though later we had to shift ourselves indoors because of a sudden drop in temperature). They have very cozy interiors with a Sushi Counter and a pretty bar tucked away on both sides of the floor.
All the dishes have been handpicked from a huge range of international favorites primarily form Continental and Asian cuisine. The menu ranges from some delicious breakfast options, sandwiches, burgers, sushi, dimsums, meal bowls and some very sexy shakes. We shared our food preferences to a very efficient and trained staff, and left ourselves in the hands of the chef to feed us with his pick of dishes for us.
We got the following recommendations from them:
Hash Skillet – A skillet of eggs, topped with smoked cheddar and some really beautiful crisp bacon & veggies in the centre, it was a very flavorful dish with different textures in every spoonful. Served with a slightly sweet multi grain bread on the side.
Poached eggs on hummus – A very healthy middle eastern breakfast option with a nice, warm, runny poached egg topped with delicious hummus. A very subtle dish served with flat bread
Congee –  Glutenised rice served with a variety of sides – chicken, burnt garlic, spring onion, boiled egg, onions, some nuts. Mix and match and create the flavors and textures you prefer.
Spicy Chicken Dim Sum – A very interesting presentation – shaped like red chillies and complete with a deep red color – it was filled with subtly spiced chicken. No one can have just one ☺
5 Spiced Lamb Gyoza, a pan fried Japanese dish, was very delectable dish. One of the spices slightly over powered the rest of them in this dish, I liked it a lot though.
Dragon roll – One of my favorite was this sushi with an inside of soft shell crabs giving it a very crunchy texture. It was sprinkled with small doses of beautiful looking caviar.
Nutella pancake – Ended my meal with a delicious sugar dust sprinkled Nutella pancake. Being a huge fan of nutella any amount of Nutella in any form factor is usually not enough for me, though I was fully satiated by this delicious pancake. Couple it up with a hot cuppa of your choice and you ll  discover heaven.
I must say that each dish was carefully crafted with some really high quality ingredients and left us gasping for more. The food, hospitality and ambience were impeccable and top notch. I am sure coming back to try some more of Number 31’s food. A must try for a quick breakfast, or a peaceful business meeting or a lovely evening with friends or family.

Dockyard, Sector 29, Gurgaon

Dockyards are always huge and thats what this restaurants gives you a feel about – Hugeeeee. Spread over two floors and with a lot of outside open area, the place is beautifully done.
You ll notice a lot of micro brewery apparatus as they serve fresh beer and a giant LED wall on the lower floor just behind the bar.
Waiting for a meeting, i landed up here and wanting to try different dishes, ordered a non vegetarian platter – having Fish, chicken and mutton kebabs
The Murgh tikka was amazingly flavored with tomato and chilly paste and well cooked.
Mustard flavored fish was very delcately treated and had an awesome tanginess to it.
and my all time favorite mutton chapli kebabs are a must try at this place.
Even this much food was a lot for 2-3 diners.
I was there for a late Lunch so it was pretty light and the service was great & efficient unlike some other places where everyone is almost sleepy at this hour of the day.
Definetly coming back to try some more of its offerings. 🙂

Tourist @ Janpath, CP, Delhi

I am a sucker for open spaces specially high rise roof tops. And if that place is set right in the middle of the busiest place of the busiest city in India its even better. Reading about it a lot, I landed at Tourist with a colleague for a quick bite.

An interesting concept with menu and a lot knick knacks inspired by some of world’s famous places, Tourist if spread across various levels with mutliple bars and a choice of seating options. Pick a cozy corner inside or an awe inspiring open air rooftop option.

We tried a COQ AU VIN ( I can never pronounce this tongue twisters correctly mannnnn. its embarassing:) The chicken in this dish was perfectly cooked and a reduction of Red wine sauce complimented in perfectly. The accompanying  veggies were beautifully cooked. It was the chefs recommendation.
We also got ourselved a thin crust pizza loaded with delicious cheese and chicken chunks and I totally forgot what they were called.
I have heard they a have some very nice desserts which due to shortage of time I had to skip. I ll be soon coming back for them.
The staff is super helpful though I guess even they are getting acquainted to such an Internationally diversified menu. Everything said and done… this place is a must try and fully recommended specially for your evening hangouts… Enjoy and have fun !!!!

Potet @ The Junction, HauzKhas

IMG_20161226_162629.jpgAnd Delhi gets its First dedicated fries place…

I am sure all of us have seen numerous fry places from our travels around the world and now a group young Delhites have brought those delicious fries to the town.

Set right across a beautiful tree and a huge open space, this place is a welcome break from the bustling Delhi crowd and that too right in the middle of the city.

Offering a range of crispy fries topped with a choice of veggies and chicken options, the team helps you select the right one as per your flavor pallet. Served with a range of cheesy and sweet and spicy dips, you can always mix and match.

The service is prompt, staff friendly and ambience lovely. I am sure its gonna be a great hangout zone in the coming days for the young and mighty of Delhi 🙂

PS. Do try out the lip smacking Hot Chocolate on offer .. A must try..

Sunny Sunday Afternoon with Lights Camera Action, Rajouri Garden

On a sunny Sunday afternoon , the best place to be in Delhi is a beautiful rooftop . On a similar Sunday, i tried out the much famous Rajouri Garden now known for its buzzing restaurants. Landed up at LCA, with a very interesting bollywood theme.

They have a indoor as well as outdoor sitting spaces and we chose to be on the rooftop. It was just me and my daughter so we ordered a Penne pasta and a chicken pizza. Both of the dishes were well cooked and full of flavors. Loaded with cheese and lip smacking chicken chunks.. I loved the pizza more..

The staff was very courteous to get a warm drink for us as my daughter had a little cold going. It was a really nice gesture.

The place is a must visit for both a casual drink or a satiate your hunger.

Prankster, The F&B Campus, Gurgaon

After a long time I came across a beautiful concept restaurant which has given immense attention to its ambience. Apart from the decor it served impeccable and delicious dishes which remained true to its flavors. All this was topped with a heart warming hospitality and some really fun elements incorporated in every aspect of the restaurant and call themselves PRANKSTER the F&B Campus.

Located in the always buzzing and ever growing Sector 29 market of Gurgaon, the place is spread over more than 10,000 sq feet.. yes its huge.. may be even more behind the walls…. And is divided into different sections resembling a campus – Library, Chemistry Lab, Classroom, hostel rooms and what not. The entire concept it based upon the premise of bringing back your old memories and nostalgia ( I almost got one while sitting on the stairs which felt like my college basket ball court and ties with hidden booze compartment .. lol.. I wish I had one in my college days).

Now lets talk about the Food. Every dish tried to retain a flavor from the past and present itself with a modern take on it. And it was done impeccably.

The delicious Fattir Pizzas with flaky rims were spot on. The melting cheese and the delicious chunks of meat were to die for.

Bombay tawa pulao croquettes were a really interesting dish but I got highly impressed with Pav Bhaji Burgers. The bhaji was compressed into a patty and served with a delicious masala.

I was told that potatoes used in there honey chilly potato were organically grown and thus giving it a very smooth texture and rich flavors.

As usual, I asked the bartender to give me the signature drinks and he belted out a very nice Prankster Punch , a well balance vodka based cocktail.

A great place to explore something new, connect with some old memories, be with some friends or hangout with your family. This place has something or other for everyone and for every occasion.