The Czar of Indian cuisine J. Inder Singh Kalra, popularly known as Jiggs Kalra, who had served some of the world’s most prominent personalities like Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Bill Clinton among others, passed away on June 4.
The gastronome, in a career spanning close to five decades, was instrumental in introducing Indian cuisine to the international audience as well as setting standards of the same. Along with his son Zorawar Kalra, he created legendary establishments which in today’s time are considered as culinary delights in India.
On his death, let’s take a walk down memory lane and revisit his iconic restaurants.
In 2006, Jiggs Kalra, along with his son Zorawar Kalra, launched Punjab Grill while following the quick service restaurants (QSR) format and in 2007, they reintroduced it as a fine-dine restaurant. Their butter chicken, dal makhani, biryani, paneer lababdar, paan shot, and matar mushroom are worth trying. On an average, a meal here will cost you around Rs 2,400.
The duo launched Masala Library in 2011. The first Indian restaurant to introduce molecular gastronomy to Indian cuisine, a meal costs around Rs 3,000 per person. They make a dish as simple as paneer makhani look theatrically appealing by presenting it in the shape of a big tart. Or serve a gourmet dish like tandoori guchchi with mint chutney foam. Their curries talk about the rich culture and heritage of India, whether it is yellow dal from north India or a rich mustard-laden fish curry from the banks of West Bengal.
Made in Punjab
The success of Masala Library was followed by Made in Punjab. The menu was 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. A meal costs around Rs 900 per person.
Their next venture was the modern bistro Farzi Cafe. The innovative cuisine and mixology cafe which already has four outlets in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Gurugram and Lucknow) recently opened its doors to customers in the locality of Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus, London. Focusing on the gourmet dinner as well as the taste of the youth, Farzi Cafe brings Indian cuisine back in vogue with table theatrics and culinary illusion. Their cocktails, milky way mocktails, fusion vada pav, duck-filling samosa are quite popular. A meal costs around Rs 1,100 per person.
Pa Pa Ya and Bo-Tai
They have also experimented with Asian food with Pa Pa Ya (Rs 1,500 per person) and Bo-Tai (Rs 2,000 per person). The food served under these banners combine cooking techniques and cultures from across the Asian continent, and give them a truly modern avatar, once again infusing molecular gastronomy in their dishes.