One Saturday, I walked into Cafe Masala, and walked out five minutes later when I heard that there was no a la carte menu, and the buffet was 520 bucks. Last week, on Rajyotsava Day, I found myself there again, with a friend, looking at an appetizing spread at an appetizing price (weekday prices, duh!).
We kicked off with chicken leek soup, which tasted like peppery chicken stock, with two minuscule lumps of chicken in it. Keeping a brave face, we progressed to the salads, of which there were too many, and you were in danger of filling up if you tried them all. I liked the okra salad and the tuna salad, though I was disheartened by the small amounts of tuna in it. The chicken pasta salad was just pasta and the insalata was a acidic mixture of rajma and peas. All the salads went a little overboard with the vinegar; it was sooo acidic.
Among the starters, I enjoyed the chicken winglets with the dip, and the murgh dakshini kabab, and lurrved the masala tava fish. I’m getting quite lucky with the fish dishes I’ve eaten till now, all of them have been superbly prepared and quite satisfied my Bengali cravings. The paneer tikka and the crum fried cauliflower were also good, but let down by the dip- they would have been great with a mint chutney. Actually, all the starters begged for a mint chutney, the cheese dip lacked punch.
The non-veg main course had just three dishes- a saucy spaghetti chicken neapolitana, a delicious murg kalimirch and a dry muttom dum biriyani with zero dum. Veggies had far better choices, with a subzi diwani handi that had some wonderfully cooked brinjal, a soft creamy palak paneer, a spicy thai red curry, slightly sweet dahi bhalla, and a bunch of things I had no place in my stomach for. The diwani handi and the murg kalimirch merited second helpings from me, and I believe I deserve a round of applause for finishing everything except the naans, which were a bit dry.
I’ve heard a lot about Cafe Masala’s desserts, and ou could have made a meal out of them, there were so many. The cakes looked like something out of a food magazine- they were presented so well. The lemongrass pudding was too eggy, but the white wine dachess cake was lovely, with the discs of white chocolate complementing the sponge. The mango and pista feuillantine combined the tartness of mango with the sweetness and crunch of pista beautifully, and was my dish of the day. Was it original feuillantine? No, not by what my internet research says. Was it good, no matter what its name? Aye, aye captain. The choux with chocolate pastry cream was dry and I thought they had put too much gelatin in the kiwi cheesacake. And there was a chocolate fountain. Yes, bubbling dark chocolate, into which I dipped my marshmallows. Aah, the bliss! In case you think I was just eating fattening calorie-rich foods, may I tell you that I had my share of fresh fruits too- pineapples, watermelons and papayas.
Cafe Masala is a BJN Group restaurant, so taxes are a very important part of the bill. The buffet actually cost Rs 299, but the 30 percent taxes levied took it up to Rs 385. For the first time, I didn’t mind the addition to the bill- I felt that the food was worth it. The service was efficient and unobtrusive, just the way I like it. I would recommend you all to check it out, and advise that you go on a weekday.