6 Questions With : Restaurateur Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director, and Jiggs Kalra's son
Updated on: 27 Jun 2016
As Masala Library opens in the city this July, Zorawar Kalra says he is coming up with version four of Indian food
Almost three years ago, "Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra" opened its doors to Mumbai diners. Within weeks, the restaurant had earned itself both critical and popular acclaim. It was daring, experimental and innovative – a modern tribute to Indian food. It gave shape to the group's Founder and Managing Director, and Jiggs Kalra's son, Zorawar Kalra's vision for Indian food. Now, with the restaurant's Delhi opening just around the corner, Zorawar talks about going even bigger and better than before. Opening on July 9 on Janpath (adjacent to Le Meridian), Delhi's 60-seater Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is slated to be the world's first subcontinental restaurant.
Mumbai took to Masala Library instantly, didn't it? Tell us about the philosophy behind the restaurant's conception?
Basically when we started Masala Library, we knew we were taking a big risk, playing around with Indian food, something that's very close to people's hearts. We knew it was a punt. We were the first Indian restaurant to introduce molecular gastronomy with Indian food. We knew we wanted to do something very cool and unique with Indian food, to put it on the global palette, to revolutionise it. I thought that the days of taking a katori of dal with a swirl of cream on top were gone. People were bored, jaded; restaurants losing diners. The flavours in Indian food are great and I think it remains the best cuisine on earth, but there was no evolution. That's not the way we like to function. We like to innovate or we get bored ourselves, let alone the diner. So we were very clear that this was something we wanted to do.
When we opened in Mumbai, we were already late, because we spent over year just perfecting the menu. We didn't open till we were certain of it. This is our flagship brand, it has my dad's name on the door, who mentors the company. It was important to get it right, both the first, and now the second time.