A Spin on Desi Dinner | Masala Twist

Molecular gastronomy is a type of food science where they cook food using practical science, creating unique dishes in terms of texture, taste and presentation, through the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients.

When I heard that the Venom Lounge and Bar started up Masala Twist offering modern, contemporary Indian avant-garde cuisine back in mid-2016, I was intrigued. Somehow, I hadn’t managed to try it out until June 2017, when I headed there with my whole family. (I know! It’s a veeeerry late post. Sorry.)

Walking into empty, dimly lit club is a little different from what I would imagine for a restaurant to look like, but the dining area itself is a long, narrow covered balcony overlooking Westlands and its environs.img_2371

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A “candid” shot!

The welcoming manager sat us down and explained each dish to us as we ordered.

After a look at the menu, we decided to try out some cocktails as some of them sounded quite fascinating. Diva opted to celebrate the end of her final exams with a summery Pimms Fruity Cocktail that comprised fresh tropical fruit juice and Pimms lemonade finished with some sweet red wine. It was reminiscent of a fruity sangria and I could easily imagine sipping on this on a warm, sunny day.img_2376I set my mind on the Edison’s Invention, after a lot of back and forth with a cosmopolitan topped with cotton candy. Aptly named, the Edison’s Invention was fittingly served in a light bulb shaped glass. The sunset-colored cocktail was composed of vodka, amaretto, orange juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and grenadine syrup.

Mom tried the Light of Hope, Masala Twist’s take on the classic Pina Colada, with Malibu rum, tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and ginger foam. I tried some and while it was refreshingly creamy, I found the ginger foam to be a tad too strong.

When the rest of the group joined us, my aunt and cousin ordered the Long Island Iced Tea. My cousin got the Toxic Long Island Iced Tea, that had vodka, gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, apple and cranberry juice, while my aunt got the Electric Long Island Iced Tea that replaced the apple and cranberry juice with Blue Curacao and Simba Charge Energy Drink. These were served in tall cylindrical flasks, making me think of my high school chemistry days. Do I sound old now?! Okay, don’t answer that.img_2372To cleanse our palates, we were served an amouse bouche – a creamy saffron milk with a rose petal dumpling, which was perfect.img_2366For starters, we ordered the Papad Sampler with a selection of chutneys. There was an array of papads, including crunchy potato starch chips. This was really interactive as we got to try distinctive combos like mango sauce and chili garlic with the different papads.img_2378Next, Diva and I wanted to try the Seasonal Watermelon Chaat with Balsamic Vinegar Caviar, but unfortunately, it wasn’t available that day.

We then ordered the Pan Tossed Masala Shrooms with Truffle Haze. I loved how the rich, creamy sauce complimented the meaty mushrooms, especially paired with earthy truffle.img_2367We also ordered a Chilly Paneer, though I found the paneer a little too chewy to my liking, its spicy flavors were incredible.img_2377My least favorite was the Pindi Channa Philly Tikki with Corn Rings. I thought that the flavorful tikkis were a little too dry and crumbly, but they tasted great with the accompanying mint chutney and the tamarind sauce. I didn’t try the corn on the cob rings, although they looked mouthwatering.img_2368We then ordered the Inside Out Vada Pav, which looked like a kachori (a fried puri stuffed with spiced lentils, potato, or beans) topped with a whole fried green chilly. The deep-fried treat consisted of shredded potato, onion and bread pieces, and it was delicious and definitely something I wouldn’t have ever imagined of creating.img_2375For the mains, we got the Spinach & Ricotta Kofta in a Methi Malai Curry, which had spinach and cheese dumplings accompanied with a rich, red tomato and fenugreek curry in a gravy boat. We also had the Mix Vegetable Amritsari Curry with fresh, infused spices. The various veggies in this creamy curry also had little pieces of soft, tender paneer. We had this with buttery Methi Naan and some Jeera Rice.img_2370img_2369img_2384Full and content, we still chose to order dessert (duh!), we got the Jalebi Caviar in a Saffron Foam Almond Pistachio Rabri and the Indian Chai Ice Cream with Masala Foam served with Ginger Cookies. The orange jalebi was in the form of tiny caviar, reminding me of the famous Dipping Dots ice cream. The caviar was served on top of a creamy, sweet almond pistachio rabri (a sweet, condensed-milk-based dish) with saffron foam. Not only did it look gorgeous, it tasted delectable and the textures worked so well together.img_2382The Indian Chai Ice Cream was served in the cutting chai glasses (tiny glasses they serve strong Indian chai in roadside stalls across India) alongside ginger cookies. I don’t usually enjoy tea, especially Indian chai, but this ice cream hit the spot for me. Definitely, my cup of tea 😉img_2383With that, our meal came to an end.

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What the bill arrived in

I was a little nervous at the beginning of what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the different tastes, textures and presentation of the food. However, I wished there had been some mukhwas (colorful Indian after-meal snack used as a mouth freshener) or mints, after such a wonderful meal. And I hope they move to a new location so I can frequent the restaurant during the weekend, as I think it’d be rather awkward to be dining at a club on a Saturday night.

 

Photos by Diva Shah

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