Can it be said that a restaurant is known by the cover of its menu?
While a yes to this statement would not be entirely true, it can easily be said that a menu, and its cover, is a telling statement of the place one sits down for a meal. But when the cover of a menu is designed by painter-sculpture and Padmashri awadree Paresh Maity, and the menu belongs to Masala Kraft, the Indian restaurant at Taj Mahal Palace, one can safely say that a new benchmark has been set which cannot be easily met by the rest.
Paresh Maity says, “Food is also an art. It’s an integral part of our life and adds beauty to it.”, and how true is that. This famous artist who has painted the longest painting in India, that stretches up to over 850 feet and is surely one of the most monumental paintings in the world, has added his own brand of beauty to the city’s food scene by creating a painting for Masala Kraft, one which is on display in the restaurant. The impressive watercolour is now on the cover of their new menu.
As far as fare at Masala Kraft is concerned, hand ground spices and traditional recipes spell magic on one’s palate as the restaurant blends culinary innovations with traditional methods. The menu has shifted from the uber contemporary to the traditional, bringing forth Indian recipes cooked in the time tested age-old way. Gone are the masks of butter, cream, and gravy. Instead they use well- researched preparation techniques to retain the authentic flavours .
While the menu is extensive, what really got my attention was the ‘tiffin’, Mumbai-style. I’m told that instead of food being presented on a large thali, the way a regular thali is presented, it would be dishes would be placed in front of the guest in the form of a tiffin box. Needless to say I was intrigued. The pricing too left me intrigued, but that comes with the territory of a meal a Taj Mahal Palace restaurant, I suppose, even if it is a ‘tiffin’. Well, while the Mumbai Tiffin is Masala Kraft’s tribute to the Mumbai’s dabbawalas, its not the standard stainless steel tiffin dabba; this is a deconstructed tiffin box, with each individual dish assymterically arranged on a holder.
Át a price of INR 3050 ++ for the Vegetarian version of the Mumbai Masala Tiffin and INR 3850 ++ for the Non Vegetarian one, the expectations are indeed very high. The tiffins have local Maharashtrian fare and Parsi comfort food, which is not so common on a 5 star restaurant’s menu. Sampling some of it , I can easily say that the meal itself from the ‘tiffin’ is exquisite. The flavors subtle, the meats perfectly cooked, and the spices were not overwhelming.
The rest of the menu has some honest-to-goodness authentic North Indian fare that draws from our country’s rich heritage, and one can ask for the Wine Paired Menu and the Health Menu too.
As Paresh Maity says about the menu cover, “I’ve used a largely warm colour scheme with lots of reds and yellows as I feel that in our culture, everything is warm. The food at Masala Kraft has a warmth about it too, as it uses our world-famous spices..”
As for me, I found the entire idea of a famous artist putting his overview of a restaurant in the form of a painting on a menu cover rather exciting. The El Quatre Gats café in Barcelona, where Picasso had his first one-man show in 1900, still uses his artwork on their menu, more than a century later. Masala Kraft a hundred years hence serving authentic Indian food with emphasis on Mumbai local fare in tiffins and Paresh Maity on its menu cover? Why not…………
Masala Kraft is open for Lunch between 12.30 pm and 02.45 pm. Dinner service is between 07.00 pm and 11.45 pm.
An a la carte meal for two costs around INR 4000 ++ (without alcohol)
Address : The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,
Apollo Bunder, Colaba,
Phone : 022 6665 3366