Saturday, June 14, 2014

Masala Klub fare at Beyond Indus, Taj Club House

I was thrilled when invited and told that the Taj Club House here in Chennai was having a 10 day Masala Klub food festival - the idea of contemporary Indian food served with a twist made me push aside all my weekday commitments and head over to Beyond Indus with heady anticipation.

The Masala Klub is the Indian restaurant at the Taj West End in Bangalore and is known to specialize in Indian fare cooked with a healthy twist and using ingredients such as olive oil, pine nuts etc and western cooking techniques such as boiling and steaming as opposed to the traditional sauteing and frying of ingredients. As Chef Chandan of the Masala Klub explained to us, Masala Klub looks at serving Indian food with a healthy twist. They aim at making the diner feel at ease and not ''over fed'' with all rich fare that has been tucked in. All this sounded fascinating and I was even a bit skeptical wondering how a sumptuous Indian meal can leave a diner feeling anything but stuffed and this piqued my interest all the more.

We started with a pani puri with a twist - the pani had a strong smoked pineapple flavor and an assorted platter with the goodies: excellently seasoned pan seared sea bass, a delicious palak pappad ka kebab which was florets of broccoli with mustard, and fresh and succulent char grilled prawns. This was served with a portion of veggies picked in the usual suspect of vinegar and the more bizzare ingredient of rose water. But ,et it be noted that this seemingly alarming mix of ingredients did wonders to the palate and cleansed it paving way for the main course.

The main course was a more subdued affair with a few different types of bread, with the chili naan deserving special call out and four gravies. I personally found my favorite in the water chestnut and lotus stem curry and had dollops of it with the roti. I also felt that that it would pair excellent with plain white rice as well. The Anardana Jhinga or fresh prawns tossed on the griddle with roasted coriander seeds and topped with pomegranate seeds was the second favorite - the gravy paired excellently well with chili naan. The Dal Indus also deserves special mention, it is a black lentil curry simmered for over 40 hours and then finished with fresh tomatoes. It was thick, creamy and reminiscent of dal makhani, but different in aspects. I didn't taste the Patiala Mutton curry myself but my friends at the table found it alright, though it was remarked that one of the spices stood out and eclipsed the flavor of the others.

Dessert was a baked anjeer halwa - mashed figs topped with thickened milk and baked and served hot. It came with a side of coconut ice cream, which was very crystallized and sliced figs and kiwi.

An interesting turn of events was, the famous galouti kebab which was not on the menu for our dinner that night, but is available as part of Masala Klub's festival. A couple of my kebab connoisseur friends stayed back to taste it after all of us left, and they can't stop raving about it. I take their word for the fact that it was delicious, and strongly recommend you try the galouti kebab if you are at the restaurant.

The Masala Klub festival is on from the 12th to 22nd of June at Beyond Indus, Taj Club House, Chennai


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