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May 28, 2008updated Feb 08, 2013

Masala Klub Reinvents Indian Cuisine With A Contemporary Twist

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Bangalore, India – Masala Klub, a new restaurant at the Taj West End, features a contemporary, light menu with a twist on traditional recipes from North and South India. Visually stunning in every way, this 108-seat elegant restaurant serves stylishly crafted Indian fare in a sophisticated setting.

Masala Klub is the fourth Masala brand restaurant at the Taj Hotels, and combines the best flavors from the other Masala restaurants – Art, Craft, and Bay – and adds a range of inspirations from South India. Started as a dream of Taj Corporate Chef Hemant Oberoi to reinvent authentic Indian cuisine, the concept of the “Masala” brand grew into a group of restaurants where time-tested ingredients and recipes are given new life. In place of butter, cream and cashew-based gravies, extra virgin olive oil and lighter preparation techniques are used to retain authentic flavors. Chef Oberoi is faithful to the diverse homemade dishes of India while evolving the recipes for contemporary palates.

Chef Oberoi and his team of chefs traveled throughout Punjab – Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ambala, and Chandigarh – to retrace and revive old cuisines for the Masala restaurants. “Tandoori chicken, butter masala and sheekh kebabs are not on the menu. We want to break the myth that Indian food is heavy and oily,” says Chef Oberoi. “In fact, the open kitchens in the restaurants inspire guests to request their preferred oil and spice levels.”

Led by Executive Chef Sandeep Kachroo, the team also traveled across South India to find the authentic roots of the cuisine. Masala Klub’s cuisine is a genuine Indian experience with a fundamental difference: the masalas (mixture or blend of ground spices) are used judiciously to complement rather than overshadow the other ingredients and to recreate flavors in international cooking styles. The result is an exciting blend of traditional Indian flavors mingling with the new. “During our journey across the country, we were amazed by the variety in Indian cuisine and how a simple blend of spices which varies from home to home can transform basic ingredients into something extraordinary,” explains Chef Kachroo.

Signature dishes include Paperwali Machchi, fish fillet drizzled with freshly ground peppercorns enveloped in parchment paper and char grilled without oil in an open pit, and Murg khatta pyaaaz, a combination of chicken with pickled onions, brought to a pleasing pungency with burnt garlic and tamarind chutney sorbet, which consists of dates, fruit and tamarind.

Trolleys carry home-style phulkas (oil-free puffed breads) made of freshly ground atta (a whole wheat flour made from hard wheat). Hand-pounded masalas are cooked in olive oil, resulting in lighter, fresher dishes. The restaurant’s open wine cellar offers a collection of 225 new world and traditional wines, and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, a traditional Indian beverage, is a signature drink.

Designed by lead architects WATG of London with interior designs by Lim Teo Wilkes of Kuala Lumpur, Masala Kraft is simple and clean with sandstone accents, and warm silver tones and saffron lacquer panels on the ceiling. The restaurant’s veranda is accented with decorative lights made of cranberry and aubergine glass.

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In the restaurant’s Masala Studio, guests can interact with the chef and watch as their meals are being prepared. In the Masala Grill, guests can do their own grilling on stone grill tables. The Matterhorn stones from Switzerland are electronically heated and have been marinated in herbs and saffron for 15 days to impart flavors to the food during grilling. Masala Klub serves lunch and dinner daily.

The 117-room Taj West End Bangalore sits on 20 acres of lush gardens near the city’s business and entertainment center and features a blend of centuries’ old colonial charm and the most modern of amenities. All 26 luxury suites offer complimentary airport transfers, Taj Club privileges and 24-hour personal butler service.

About Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia’s largest and finest groups of hotels, comprising 61 hotels in 42 locations across India with an additional 16 international hotels in the Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Rajput palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. The Taj, a symbol of Indian hospitality, has recently completed the centenary of its landmark hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India’s premier business house.

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