Masala Klub, Taj West End, Bangalore
When I go out for a north Indian meal, I have to practically waddle out of the restaurant because every single dish on offer is floating in oil. So, when the Masala Klub at the Taj West End announced that it had added a contemporary twist to the preparation of these dishes (olive oil as cooking medium, for one), I was genuinely curious.
Masala Klub is the fourth restaurant in the Taj group’s Masala series, after Masala Art in New Delhi, and Masala Kraft and Masala Bay in Mumbai. According to chef Hemant Oberoi, the menu at the Masala Klub is a pick of the best from the other three restaurants, along with additions inspired by Kannada cuisine.
Keen to savour both the food and Taj West End’s abundant green patches, my dinner companion and I decided to sit by the garden. But, if you are particular about what goes into your food, seat yourself at the Masala Studio, the area inside the restaurant from where you can chat with the chef as he prepares your meal.
The good stuff
We started with Tamarind Cream, a cocktail recommended by our maitre de. This vodka-based drink blended with tamarind, litchi and Baileys was an instant hit with both of us.
At Masala Klub, you can opt for the fixed menu or order a la carte. As a vegetarian, I tend to regard fixed menus with some apprehension, but the menu did not disappoint. In fact, it was rather elaborate, what with a choice of three starters, three vegetables, dal and a sorbet. What caught the attention of my palate was the “Anjeer Kele ki Kabab”, a griddled cake of fig and raw banana, while my companion lauded the juicy Anardana Jinga, sauteed prawns in a pomegranate base. Between the entrée and the main course, we were served tamarind sorbet, which turned out to be the high point of the evening for it reminded me of the golas that are so popular in the north. The Klub version was a slurpy combination of dates, fruits and spices, all churned into an icy sorbet.
As promised, the main course was light, prepared in olive oil and subtly spiced. The hot phulkas (chapattis), made on the phulka trolley which floats around the restaurant were the perfect accompaniment to the subzis (vegetables). For dessert, I chose Masala Chai Kulfi, which was creamy and left a lingering taste of cardamom.
The paneer (cottage cheese) in Paneer Khatta Pyaz was a tad chewy because, the chef explained, they fly the paneer from Mumbai and on that day the consignment had failed to arrive on time.
For those who prefer a la carte, the vegetarian main course dishes start at Rs450. The fixed vegetarian menus start at Rs2,000 and the non-vegetarian at Rs2,250.