The week that went by wasn’t really the best of weeks if you’re an Indian cricket fan and watching the team go out of the World Cup despite a solid performance was absolute heartbreak. But I survived! Not because I wasn’t bothered, but because something was taking me on a sensory trip that was notches above the game in progress. So much so that I found myself cheering for every Caribbean shot that flew past the boundary rope and into the stands.
Weird! But that’s what an utterly befuddling experience does to your senses. Makes you trip over and fall off from a ledge, smiling happily and perhaps waiting for a soft pillow at the end to cushion the fall.
I may have garbled a sizeable load of gibberish but I am certain that a trip to the place I am about to rant about would help to clear the air of my confusion, of course at the risk of creating your own!
Here’s my MasalaBar recount, in words that are definitely not as fabulous as the experience I have been dished out.
Harry Potter meets art deco in a weird’ish romance to give us a mansion of mysteries that MasalaBar is.
Dim lit dining is something many restaurants are going with these days, but I’ve rarely come across a place that nails it like MasalaBar has. The candle lit atmosphere not only looks fantastic, but given the mysteriousness and theatrics involved in the service, goes brilliantly well with your MasalaBar experience.
The seating is plush and comfortable and the view is absolutely amazing both for a sea lover and a cricket lover.
On a crickety note, MasalaBar hits it out of the park Chris Gayle style when it comes to service.
If I was an ambitious young bloke off to work in the service industry, this is the place I’d aspire to work at.
While the courtesy and hospitality are evident in the staff’s demeanour, there is that air of confidence in the experience they are providing, and that only comes from knowing you have something solid going on in the kitchen and behind the bar.
Right from the impeccable dressing to the panache with which the MasalaBar experience is dished out to you, the team totally nails it.
I’m splitting the food and the drink this time around since they both were awesome enough to deserve their own space.
This cocktail is an homage to the beautiful sunsets that many to Carter Road for.
I remembered Ra’s Al Ghul’s lesson to Batman on the importance of theatrics in one’s arsenal and this cocktail brings that very lesson to life. No cheap dry ice tricks but subtle presentation that complements the drink. A stem less cocktail glass lay on a bed of crushed ice set in a box with dry ice. Beautiful!
The rosemary brings out the oaky and woody character of the whisky so beautifully, it’s hard to explain. Plus, the flavour of the orange brings the entire concoction to life almost instantly.
This cocktail is certainly out there both in terms of how it looks and how it tastes!
So long as something legendary doesn’t come my way, this cocktail is Number 1 on my list of cocktails, and believe me I’ve made and sampled quite a few of them in this life.
The apple camomile reduction and the thyme foam completely cut off the vodka in between and there’s absolutely no realization of you having consumed any alcohol at all.
That’s where this drink gets dangerous, because it makes you feel like you’re having a mocktail but in reality it packs quite a potent punch.
If it isn’t already clear I’ll say it one more time, this drink tastes absolutely beautiful and among all the amazing cocktails at MasalaBar, stood as my clear favourite.
The presentation is a play on analogies; Bhaang messes up with your head so why not serve the Bollywood Bhaang in a skull. Absolutely spot on!
Moving on, the cocktail wasn’t as thick as a thandai usually is and I quite liked that.
The vodka dose wasn’t lethal but potent enough. But the highlight of the drink was the vodka and basil vapour that you snort like a drug addict before you move to drink.
The bollywood bhaang tied with the sunset @ carter for the Number 2 spot at my MasalaBar sojourn.
So this drink mates the famed sattu sharbat with alcohol and of course, a little bit of fruity jazz that comes from the grapefruit and orange skin oil.
Not that I disliked it, but I wouldn’t call it anything more than passably decent.
THE GREAT HORNBY’S CLOUD
In homage to William Hornby, the man behind Bombay’s reclamation, this drink plays on the famed guv’s favourite spice blend and fuses it with some really fine whisky.
Served under a glass dome that contains a smoke cloud comprising of Hornby’s favourite spices, the drink is quite a theatrical spectacle.
I found this a tad bit robust for my liking although I did enjoy it reasonably enough.
I’d still recommend this, although only if you like something really powerful in terms of flavour and aroma.
AN EVENING AT CHOWPATY
Just like the chowpaty, this drink lost its charm somewhere along the way.
Served in a glass that resembles a coconut in appearance and in weight, the curry coconut mix was a little too overbearing for my liking.
I couldn’t help but shake off the thought that I had accidentally spilt some coconut chutney into my vodka.
I’m going to stay away from this!
CHICKEN 65 LOLIPOPS
I’m a fan of the greasy roadside chicken lollipops and this one totally took me by surprise.
Never has a chicken lollipop been presented so well to me and I give the chef full marks for this.
I loved how the lollipops tasted too although I would soooooooo prefer a chilled pint of beer over a cocktail to go along with these.
Tasted great but didn’t complement the fancy cocktails that well!
CHANNA TEMPURA CHAAT
Whenever I’m going drinking again, I’m surely going to miss this kind of “chakhna”.
The chickpeas were crisp and tossed in the hard to get togarashi spice mix which is spicy yet tangy at the same time. Add to it pine nuts and you have a Kashmiri boy’s dreams come true.
This is a must have!
PAN SEARED SCALLOPS
Such lovely scallops and cooked just the way should be, with a minimal sear and no damage to the delicate flavour.
I quite enjoyed the beetroot and parmesan mash that the scallops were served on and I must say that the combination works magically well.
Totally recommend this, especially with the MALABAR POINT!
BHEJA TAWA FRY
I’ve always been known to possess lesser intelligence than my peers and in the futile hope of augmenting my grey matter I summarily polish off “Bheja” wherever it is present.
But in this case, I cannot begin to explain how much I was aching for more, literally wanting to run to the kitchen to get me some more.
The brains were so creamy and served on a piece of crostini, they’re better than any spread you can imagine.
Don’t miss this at all!
LAMB GALOUTI BURGERS
The most tender and succulent of kebabs in a brioche bun, how orgasmic does the thought sound? I know!
I’m not going to describe this further, not wanting to risk drooling all over my laptop and short circuiting the damn thing.
All I can say, is this is one thing on the menu that cannot be missed out on!
While the fries were wonderful, the extra grease makes for a tad bit disappointing after palette.
Nonetheless, if you’re devouring these with some alcohol, you should be good.
On their own, you’d want to skip these!
BARBEQUE PULLED KATHAL (JACKFRUIT) BURGER
Now who does that? As soon as I heard what this was I immediately labelled it as an abomination. Pulled = Pork, not a bloody jackfruit. But this burger pulled out a pair of jacks if this was a game of poker!
Very nicely done!
PRAWN DYNAMITE SLIDER
Innovation aside, black isn’t a food colour and using squid ink in the burger dough was something I felt was uncalled for.
Moving on to how this tasted… I finished off a slider in less than 45 seconds.
The crispy fried prawns and the gorgeous sriracha mayo were beyond amazing. This is something I’d call my kind of a dish, something that I could make love to if I wasn’t supposed to eat it (No tongue in cheek pun involved here!).
LITTI CHOKHA PROFITEROLES
France meets India, and in the most scrumptious of ways possible. This is precisely how one loses his Litti Chokha virginity and I am glad I was presented the opportunity and the perfect setting for the scene!
Perfectly done choux pastry and who knew that instead of confectioner’s custard you could pipe litti chokha into the choux.
This is a wowwwww dish right from the get go when you first lay eyes on it to the point that you’ve begun digesting it!
OK, I’m a Kashmiri and I don’t like people playing around with our phirni. For that reason and that reason only I didn’t enjoy this so much.
I mean I couldn’t understand the need to use Arborio rice.
It tasted decent and I’d stop at that.
After the Chicken 65 variant, this was the second lolly on the menu (no dirty jokes) and boy did this impress us or what.
It’s served a little weirdly on a bonsai tree as if lollipops grew on trees, but who cares when it tastes so good.
The Kalra’s have outdone themselves on their newest venture and I am sure this is going to set the stage for a lot of interesting things to come in the near future.
As for me, I am bitten and hopelessly smitten! God willing, if I can afford it, I’m going to soon become a part of the furniture here, if for nothing else, at least for many more of those romantic encounters with the MALABAR POINT.
And about recommending the place! If you’ve reached to the end of this post I’m pretty sure you’re already convinced to get dressed and head to MasalaBar!
AMBIANCE – 5/5
SERVICE – 5/5
F&B – 4.5/5