Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director at Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd talks about his popular brand Masala Library that has recently debuted in Dubai with a prime location at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.
What prompted you to choose Dubai over any other city in the Middle East? How important is the Middle East dining market for you?
Dubai is a very important market for us. It is also a market that has given us a lot of love in the past and we are extremely humbled by that. The city of Dubai has amazing patronage that appreciates high-quality food options and cutting edge experimental cuisine. Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is a post-modern restaurant that is perfectly suited to a cosmopolitan city like Dubai as it offers favourite Indian food in a never before seen avatar.
In terms of choosing the address, why did you opt for the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai?
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is an iconic hotel that I have always been very keen on associating with. It offers some of the best, if not the best, culinary options of any hotel in Dubai. I have also stayed in the hotel for the past several years ever since Farzi Café opened and I have fallen in love with the property. The guests that stay in the hotel come from all over the world and have a great palate which is perfectly suited for Masala Library as well.
Are we likely to see some new additions to the Dubai menu, some exclusive items for this new outlet?
About 40 per cent of our new Masala Library restaurant menu is exclusive to Dubai. Obviously, all signature dishes will be present such as the Mushroom Chai, the deconstructed samosa and jalebi caviar however there are also some incredible new additions that have come up as a result of amazing ingredient availability in Dubai. Our chefs have also come up with some incredible interactive courses and items specifically for the Dubai menu, including a pathar kebab that is cooked tableside on a hot stone. Main dishes have also undergone some significant changes that are bound to please Masala Library fans and new patrons alike.
Do you think modern Indian cuisine has finally come of age? If you were to describe your genre of Indian cuisine, what would it be?
We like to call ourselves a post-modern restaurant that combines extremely cutting edge techniques along with the ancient traditions. For example, we use lab level equipment such as centrifuges and combine them with age-old culinary techniques such as pickling and fermentation. I think modern Indian food has definitely come up of age but it is essential for us as a community not to rest on laurels, but instead to constantly keep innovating and pushing the envelope. In that way, we will ensure that modern Indian food remains fresh and unique for a long time to the future.
This opening is going to bring you a whole new market of international diners. What is your message to them, in terms of your offering?
My humble submission to new patrons as well as existing fans of Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is that when you come to the restaurant at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, leave your preconceived notions behind. Our menu is extremely fresh and unique and will give you a true gastronomic voyage across India through your taste buds in less than two hours. We have worked extremely hard to come up with something that we believe is a treat for all the senses and we hope that each and every diner is able to experience the love and passion that we’ve put into it.