Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > Smart Living> Innovation > Lounge Review: Masala House, Delhi

Lounge Review: Masala House, Delhi

A visit to this New York chain's Delhi outpost is worth it for the appetizers alone

Patra Kabuli from Masala House. Photo courtesy Masala House<br />
Patra Kabuli from Masala House. Photo courtesy Masala House

Appropriately appealing in name, food and locale, especially to foreigners, Masala House (part of a chain of restaurants from New York) is nestled in the middle of Sunder Nagar market. A walk up the stairs leads to a 60-seater restaurant with high-backed chairs in amber and gold velvet cushioning, filament lamps, metal wall accents and dark wooden panelling. It was quiet, but we were early by Delhi standards and it was lunchtime. They have two floors, so we chose to head all the way up and opt for a table near a window. Alas, the blinds were drawn down and there was barely any natural light. A smiling steward handed us a menu.

The good stuff

The appetizers are special. I would go back only for them. All of them are beautifully plated and perfectly balanced in taste. We had the Anarkali Tikki ( 345), a healthy quinoa and beetroot patty with chunky peanut butter oozing through. Delicious, crisp, crunchy.

The Kathal Varqi ( 395) followed. Marinated, tandoor-baked tender jackfruit on bite-sized chapatis, it tasted like pulled mutton and even fooled my “no vegetables please" friend.

 The Silbatte Ki Shami ( 445) came on large skewers, with the thread from the skewer of the kebab sticking out. To release the kebab, the steward simply pulled the thread. It was divine. Not the paste-y galauti texture of course, but a perfect balance between smooth and chunky: a kebab actually ground on a silbatta. The Kasoondi Machchi Tikka ( 695), large chunks of sole, marinated with the signature Bengali mustard and baked, was delicate and divine.

The menu for mains has very typical “can’t go wrong" offerings: popular Awadhi and Punjabi dishes and some mainstream Chettinad and Kerala food. It’s the perfect blend for an Indian food newbie.

We had the Anjeer and Chenna Kofta ( 395). The Awadhi-style dish had meltingly soft koftas, with just the perfect hint of sweet from the dried fruit in a velvety saffron sauce. Very fine palate dining. The Mirchi Keema ( 495) tasted like good, home-made hearty tak-a-tak without being too chunky.

The breads were great—and there is considerable variety, from a delicious Onion and Scallion Kulcha ( 95) to Mirchi Parantha ( 95). The drinks menu had the usual suspects but also a rather nice Spicy Guava ( 225), a vodka-based cocktail with guava juice, lime and a black salt rim.

The not-so-good

The desserts. They are a no-no. We tried the Chocolate Rasgulla Mousse ( 345): powdery, uber-sweet and just so wrong. The Kulfi with Poached Red Wine Pears ( 345) must be a misnomer because it was more a garnish of three minuscule strands of poached pear. The kulfi was standard fare, with an overdose of Indian spices.

The one bread I didn’t enjoy, seemed like a feeble attempt at an Indian-style stuffed pizza—the Butter Chicken Naan ( 95). Why bother?

The staff is certainly pleasant enough, but they lack knowledge of the menu.

Talk plastic

A meal for four—four appetizers, three mains, three drinks, two desserts, three espressos—cost us 8,710. They do not accept Amex cards as yet.

Masala House, First floor, 4, Sunder Nagar (43583654). Open from noon-3.30pm (lunch; 7pm-11.30pm (dinner).

Next Story