Jiggs Kalra, naam toh suna hi hoga…. As a bevy of renowned celebrities wrote a trail of condolence messages on social media, I reminisced about my experience at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. One thing off my list- to have a meal at a Jiggs Kalra restaurant…. and then Farzi Cafe and Pa Pa Ya followed….
Jiggs Kalra, also known as the “Czar of Indian Cuisine” and “Taste maker to the Nation”, passed away today at the age of 72, being hospitalised after an illness. The loss isn’t only for all connoisseurs of Indian cuisine and food critics, it is a loss for even amateur reviewers like me, who may have hoped to review Jiggs Kalra’s restaurant!
Gastronomy owes it’s grandeur to this man. If you ever flipped through newspapers when they started serving up ancient Indian secrets of food preparation, chances are you revelled in them with one of the first food writers of our time – Jiggs Kalra. And if you are studying the art of cooking and the science of hospitality, you probably found your feet through texts Jiggs authored.
Having served Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Bill Clinton and the likes, his expertise was par excellence…. now carried by his son and renowned restaurateur, Zorawar Kalra.
For all those who cheer for Indian cuisine, here is the legacy left by this Czar of Indian food….
Punjab Grill found existence in 2006, in the QSR format. In September 2007, Jiggs Kalra established Wrapster Foods Pvt. Ltd. in partnership with Amit Burman (Vice Chairman, Dabur India) and reintroduced Punjab Grill as a fine-dine restaurant and sought his father’s permission to rename it Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra. The flagship property opened at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, in early 2008. Street Foods of India, meanwhile, continued to expand as a quick service concept across the region. Karele ki Tikki, Amritsari Chaamp or the simple Aloo Wadiyan are anything but that simple!
Where: 3rd Floor, Food Union Food Court Ambience Mall, Sector 24, Gurgaon & Cyber Hub
- FIRST FLOOR 70-B, Khan Market, New Delhi & DLF Saket Mall
- The Starling Retail Noida, Hazipur, Sector 104, Noida
- Ground Floor, Morya Landmark – II, Opposite Infinity Mall, Off Andheri New Link Road, Andheri West,Mumbai
- Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Kochi, Singapore, Bangkok, Jeddah
Meal for Two: INR 2500
The culinary offering at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, was an to offer its patrons a never-before-undertaken gastronomic voyage. Introduced in 2011, Masala Library was first fine- dine Indian restaurant to introduce molecular gastronomy to Indian cuisine, the grandeur of centuries-old traditions and the long-lost essence of one of the oldest known gastronomic traditions in the World, combined with modern day cooking techniques. A simple dish as as paneer makhani transformed theatrically by it’s presentation in the shape of a tart. Such was his artistic ability, which was followed by astounding success of the restaurant.
Where: 21 A, JANPATH, Adjacent to Le Meridian Hotel, New Delhi.
- Ground Floor, First International Financial Centre, G Block, Bandra – Kurla Complex (BKC), Bandra (E), Mumbai
- Level 4, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Dubai
Meal For Two: INR 3000
Made In Punjab
Punjab in Persian means (The Land of) Five Rivers and hence the menu at Made in Punjab, covered the culinary history of the regions surrounding these five rivers. With the aim of showcasing flavours of the ancient & farm rich land of Punjab, unified under the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Made in Punjab’s endeavour is to imbibe and present its true culinary legacy. Incorporating some lost & forgotten recipes from households and dhabas of Punjab.
The menu is inspired by the culinary delights of cities like Amritsar, Lahore, Peshawar, Baluchistan and others. The butter chicken curry and the Mughlai dishes are worth a try. The catchy ‘Calories di …..’ and ‘Chaat Chatkari’ menu speak of attention done right!
Where: #6 & 7, Ground Floor, Cyber Hub, Cyber City, Gurgaon
- Level 2, Inorbit Mall, Link Road, Malad (W), Mumbai
- C-418 & 419, 3rd Floor, DLF Mall of India, Noida
Meal For Two: INR 2500
Their next venture was the modern bistro Farzi Cafe. The innovative cuisine and mixology cafe which already has four outlets in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Lucknow) recently opened its doors to customers in the locality of Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus, London. The restaurants is an epitome of innovative fusion of Indian with the quirky modern. Every dish in the menu is art…. Farzified Anda Curry, College Canteen Aloo Masala Sandwich, Parle G Cheesecake or Paan wrapped in Candy floss…. need I write more?
Where: 38/39, Level 1, Block E , Inner Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi
- GF 01-FF 01, World Mark 3, Aerocity, New Delhi
- 7-8, Ground Floor, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, GurgaON
Meal For Two: INR 2000
Pa Pa Ya
They have also experimented with Asian food with Pa Pa Ya. The food served at Pa Pa Ya combines cooking techniques and cultures from across the Asian continent, and gives them a truly modern avatar, once again infusing molecular gastronomy in their dishes. Known for serving the best Dimsums in the country, Pa Pa Ya is a take on Asian cuisine served with a twist. The highlight…. Chocolate Ball on Fire!
Where: Dome, Level 4, Select Citywalk, A-3, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi
- Level 11, Magma House, 24, Park Street, Kolkata
Meal For Two: INR 2000
Bo Tai, a Modern Thai Bar & Grill concept and is a perfect blend of cosmopolitan Italian design with the vibrance of Thai hues. It is a concept set against international decor, which is contemporary Thai and Italian. ‘Tai’, is imperfect insinuation of the food philosophy. The cuisine is a medley of Italian grills and Thai curries. As a part of the curated journey through Italian & Thai culinary, the guests will experience a range of beverages that are flavoUred playfully by coaxing blossoms and greens. Naga Fireball, a whisky based smoked cocktail, Pork belly bao or Lentil and Barley soup, it’s all a bit of glitz keeping it young.
Where: 6/4,Kalka Das Marg, MehrauliRoad, Near Qutub Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi
Meal for Two: INR 3500