‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is how the Masalazone dinning experience can be succinctly described. This second branch of Masalazone Bar and Kitchen (the first one is at Bandra) is situated at a stone throw from the Dadar Catering and Hotel Management Institute on the main road along Shivaji Park. Yet, the restaurant mainly attracts patrons only from the neighboring Shivaji Park residential locality, and chances are, you would get a table even on special festival days without waiting!
The frontage and the posh exteriors position the restaurant as an Indian fine dinning joint, the interiors is nice but the table arrangement is a little cluttered for this 50 cover restaurant. The restaurant has an interesting choice for background music – Radio FM. The service staff is quick but that hardly makes up for the deficiencies of the kitchen, which is the biggest drawback for the joint.
The Bar offers a wide choice of Indian and Imported spirits with prices starting (Indian spirits – 30 ml) Rs 150 and cocktails at Rs 200 and above. Displays cards advertise ‘Buy 2 get 1 free’ offers on some select spirits, so ask the Captain if you fancy a drink or two!
The menu offers comprehensive options mainly in Punjabi and Mughlai cuisine, but you may need to ask for help while deciding as most menu items bear fancy names (for example Sofiyana Paneer and Chandi Kebab in Appetisers).
We decided to skip ‘Shorba’ and head straight for the Appetisers, and on the Captain’s recommendation we decided for Murgh Ke Sholey, Cheese Se Bhara Kumbh and Achari Paneer Tikka. Order to service wait-time is reasonable but as the orders arrived couple of things were noticeable, first the large portions (each dish serves for 2-3), and second the lack of plating and garnishing, giving every dish that was featured an ‘incomplete’ visual appeal.
We were served first with Cheese Se Bhara Kumbh (Rs 145), this is a must try! Skewered large button mushrooms with generously heaped cheese interlaced with bell peppers, onion and de-seeded tomatoes, perfectly blended with mild spices.
Next was Achari Paneer Tikka (Rs 145), best avoided. The masala paste used was not ‘Achari’ and had excessive salt, chunks of this masala paste lay tossed all over the extra large square paneer cuts with similar interlacing of bell peppers, onion and de-seeded tomatoes. Worse, and probably as a strategy to retain the moistness in the paneer, the sheekh was hardly grilled, I guess for less than 2-3 minutes, leaving a horribly wrong raw taste. No apologies or a replacement offered on pointing out that there was excessive salt! Just that the serving staff disappeared for 3-4 minutes after the complaint.
And finally Murgh Ke Sholey (Rs 165), commonly known as ‘Chicken Tikka Boti Kebab’ everywhere. Chicken was well cooked but lacked the succulence leaving a dry feeling, so had to ask for a Cola.
A disappointing start.
For the main course we wanted to try prawns and the Captain suggested Prawn Green Masala to go with Steamed Rice. Also on our order were Murgh Dhaba Special and Dhingri Mutter Kalimirch to go with Butter Tandoori Roti and Butter Naan.
Murgh Dhaba Special (Rs 165) a house special arrived along Dhingri Mutter Kalimirch (Rs 165) served with warm Butter Naan (Rs 35) & Tandoori Roti (Rs 25). Dhingri Mutter Kalimirch (Rs 165), is a classic winter special of chopped baby button mushrooms with snow peas cooked in a onion base with spices and whole and crushed black peppers. Here however, on both occasions that I have had this dish (once on a take away), the mix of spices have been overpowered by the use of excessive black peppers. Avoid it, unless you must eat mushroom and peas that evening. Murgh Dhaba Special, on the other hand, should be on your order. The spices (Khada masala) are carefully balanced and the meat simmered to tenderness on an onion, tomato and cream base.
Finally the Prawn Green Masala (Rs 185), arrived which is a visually appealing dish of medium sized salt-water prawns (though the Captain insisted it was fresh water prawn) cooked with spices in a coriander and basil paste. The gravy was excellent but the prawns smelled foul, a few of which were not even properly de-veined. Avoid! The Steamed Rice (Rs 105) portion is large but was very dry, probably refridgerated basmati rice, microwave re-heated before serving.
We decided to skip Dessert for lack of options (only 4 items on menu, Gulab Jamun, Kulfi, Ice Cream and Caramel Custard) and these would anyways be outsourced.
Step in only if you are dying with hunger!
Ratings out of 5
Food: 2.0 | Ambiance: 2.5 | Service: 2.0 |Overall: 2.0
Meal for Two: Rs 600 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Timings: 11AM-11PM | Valet Parking: Yes| Service Charge: 10%| Note: Dine-in rates are circa 15% higher compare to home delivery menu attached.
Address: 289, Cadell Road, Next to Dadar Catering College, Shivaji Park, Dadar (W), Mumbai 400 028
Phone: (022) 24458172 / 65658111 / 65658222
– Ashish Gupta