Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Masala Kraft | The Taj Mahal Palace & Towers | Colaba Mumbai | Food Review | Restaurant Review
It was my parents' 35th marriage anniversary last month, a special day. Unfortunately, just like a decade ago, my dad had to be out of town right on that day for some meeting. But being the utter sweetheart that he is, he ordered us (my mom,me & my sister) to go out and have a memorable lunch while he would be back in town in the evening and we can then celebrate as a family. A decade ago, we had come to Shamiana at The Taj Mahal Palace and this time, we came to Masala Kraft. Because indeed, when it comes to being classy, regal and memorable, Taj does it best :)
My parents hail from very modest backgrounds from very small cities of India. Growing up, my mom remembers, her bucket list consisted of 3 things- Go stand at the Gateway of India, Meet Dharmendra in person, Have Lunch/ Dinner at THE Taj Mahal Palace at least once in this lifetime :D Glad to say that all 3 have been fulfilled and now of course she has added many more to her lists *eye roll* :P
Walked in feels like we were entering a temple, the architecture is classic and ambiance classy without being overwhelming or trying too much, proving that simplicity is timeless. Yup, the old world charm is intact all right. (Ardent foodies will understand what I mean when I say-nobody needs a DSLR to take great pictures here :D) Service par excellence as every aspect of our lunch is overlooked by efficient, polite and learned staff who know exactly how much space to give us for our personal conversations, when to appear and refill the water and drift away, the perfect duration between serving of courses. Fine dining at its best,even before the food made its entrance!
Being the ultimate in fine dine, the prices obviously reflect that. A look at the menu and confusion arises. Everything seems worth tasting and everything also seems very expensive :D A cup of tea for almost Rs. 500! This is not our first time dining at a 5 star establishment though, so we refrain from gasping (the first time almost a decade ago, we did gasp :P) An array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian North Indian dishes from Paneer/Mushroom/Broccoli starters to Main Course, Biryani and Naan and Kulfi in desserts section beckon us. We asked the staff for suggestions and finally zeroed down on a set that would satiate our tastebuds without derailing our new-found family love for portion-control dieting :D
Paneer Kalimiri, Haldi Malai ki Sabzi, Lakhnavi Sabz Biryani and Paneer Kulcha make up our feast for the afternoon. Paneer Kalimiri has soft chunks of Paneer in mildly spicy (a bit higher than subtle mild actually due to generous use of black pepper) cashew gravy but it does not feel heavy at all which is what I feared on reading 'cashew gravy'. There is a full-bodied feeling that perfectly compliments the softest Paneer Kulcha we have had in a long time, filled choc-a-bloc with minced paneer. So satisfying! Haldi Malai ki Sabzi, I suspected to be on the sweeter side, but it isn't! Again a pleasant surprise. It is mild after the fiery Paneer Kalimiri but also very unique. Dense (but not too dense) Turmeric-Creamy gravy with peas, beans, tomatoes and such veggies, think of it as a unique twist on Mixed Veg that is popular throughout India :) A dish that does not need any Roti or Naan actually to polish it off. Loved it :)
Lakhnavi Sabz Biryani is fragrant, very mildly spicy, has the right proportion of spices, veggies and the Raita served alongside does a wonderful job of cooling us down without being sour (a hazard of having dahi at many places, the sourness is lethal!) I have had better Biryani at some friends' places but this is certainly a good version getting close to it, at least much better than many places that serve Pulao in the name of Biryani!
Portions are quite good as the 3 of us are actually stuffed with all this and even though we had initially planned to,ended up not having any dessert. Guess we will have to make a trip back to taste the famous Kulfi, Malpua & Rasmalai :) All of this sets us back by just about Rs. 6000 which is certainly extravagant but reasonable for a special occasion. After all, it is good food & a great experience at a royal place like The Taj. My mom walks out happy and that is all we wanted. Till next time, Waah Taj :)