I remember the first time I was going to dine at the newly launched Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. I was counting down days with giddy excitement akin to a teenager attending her first Coldplay concert. Those were the days when ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ was a fairly unheard term. Those were the days when Bandra Kurla Complex had almost no restaurants and was still relatively under-developed. Those were the days when Indian food was not equated with beautifully plated, fine dine food. Well, so much was about to change for the Indian diner and for Mumbai’s restaurant scene post Masala Library.
Molecular gastronomy and its influence was yet to make it’s way to India, having been well established across menus in the West, pioneered by El Bulli in Spain. The philosophy adapted in the menu at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra revolves around progressive Indian cuisine, using elements of molecular gastronomy as an integral part of the menu to enhance the experience of the dish in terms of not just the flavour and visual appeal but also to introduce an element of surprise into the fray. Because after all food is a multi-sensory experience; going above and beyond taste, incorporating vision, olfaction, and texture into the entire dining experience. We would now start seeing foams, spheres, and fumes included in menus across the city, the word ‘molecular gastronomy’ being thrown around loosely, with Indian cuisine becoming modern and pretty.