Is Masti the new Carnival?

Dubai has been coming up with quite a few Indian ventures lately, and while we usually stay away from the desi food while eating out, we are intrigued to explore the much talked about Masti located in La Mer.

La Mer has been in the talks for a lot of things these days, the diversity of restaurants it hosts, the beautiful lights that line the streets, also the street art culture it shows when you’re walking down its alleys. Other than the fantastic location Masti has chosen, does it really prove to be one of the best there?

Our research shows that Masti is a modern Indian concept where food has culinary influences from Western culture. We aren’t new to an attempt at progressive Indian in the UAE, the popular Carnival by Tresind is one of them.

The ambiance is cool and mysterious when we walk in, and a hostess clad in heavy Indian jewelry welcomes us in.

Our menus are brought and we are fascinated by the combination of certain dishes that only make us think that the Chefs are either genius or the opposite. Think kheema popsicles, butter chicken pizza, and Lotus tiramisu. Also, the fact that this is probably the only Indian restaurant that doesn’t serve biryani. Nevertheless, we expect great things to happen soon.

 

The drinks arrive first; High Chai [AED 35], a smooth concoction of espresso, chai, cardamom, and vanilla with a toasted marshmallow. Mum-Bay [AED 40] for the husband from the Moksha-Tails menu. Both drinks are good, but the High Chai really spoke out to me. Maybe it was the espresso…

Chef Prashant Chipkar gives us a short description of the menu and talks about Masti as a whole. Started by celebrity Chef Hari Nayak and Chef Chipkar himself, the menu has been prepared keeping in mind Indian staples and breaking rules to present them in ways no one can imagine. Chef Hari Nayak also consults on the menu with Bombay Bungalow located at The Beach, JBR which is a traditional Indian venture.

 

Our order is soon served on the table. There’s a Fava Bean Chat [AED 60], Burrata and Heirloom Tomato [AED 65], Pulled Tandoor Chicken Bao [AED 70], Sun-Dried Tomato Prawns [AED 85], and Kheema Popsicles [AED 75]

We are impressed with the presentation, and also taken a little aback by the quantity served. The prawns are part of the main course on the menu, but hardly enough for a 12-year-old! The fava bean chat is made with tempered labneh with yogurt crackers, along with the sweet and spicy sauces that are served in the traditional street food.

As appalling as it may sound, kheema popsicles actually worked! The minced meat is topped with quinoa and shaped like a popsicle all with a stick, although not cold, thankfully. Served on the side is herb chutney with a tiny hint of spice and we’re sold!

The pulled chicken tikka baos are small flavorful bites served with a dropper containing tamarind sauce leaving us wanting for more. I can’t understand why a burrata was placed on the menu, except for the coriander crisp. There’s also an addition of tomato chili jam which I personally feel was too toned down for the international crowd. A little spiciness could have taken the dish to a new level.

 

 

 

 

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After a little more than an average start, our main courses are brought to the table. Smoked Chicken [AED 80], Saag Paneer Lasagna [AED 65], Banana Leaf Branzino [AED 80] with Masti Fries [AED 40] and Brussel Sprouts [AED 35] on the side.

Smoked chicken is just that – smoked. Quite inedible, but you’re welcome to have it burnt if you want to. However, its bed of roasted red pepper makhani deserves a mention, unlike the usual tomato based sauce that is used in Indian curries. Saag is a paste made of spinach which works in the lasagna and was a nice dish, as well the branzino which is my favorite.

The Brussel sprouts on the side are fantastic! The toasted hazelnuts give a nice touch without making the vegetable bitter. Wouldn’t mind a bigger portion, but Masti already serves small quantities of their mains so that would be very unlikely to happen.

As we wait for dessert, I can’t help but think how different both Masti and Carnival are. Chef Himanshu plays with the menu to bring in a nostalgic feel that resonates with Indians. Whereas, Masti is more of a futuristic approach that appeals to a wider audience.

For dessert, there’s Lotus Tiramisu [AED 45] and Mango Chocolate Cheesecake [AED 45]. However, we are surprised when Chef Prashant walks out with Chocolate Delice [AED 50] as well. The results are a bit conflicting; the husband gives the mango dessert a thumbs up, whereas I prefer the Chocolate Delice. I’m a bit biased here I have to admit, but I will always prefer chocolate over anything else. (Unless the rare circumstance where the dessert is an absolute experience. Read here to know more)

 

If we’re going back: Masti meaning mischief in Hindi scores a solid 3.5 on 5 in my opinion. The relaxed ambiance, servers who had good knowledge of the menu, and a menu that confuses you (in a good way) work for the restaurant.

Our recommendations would be the Kheema Popsicles, Fava Bean Chat, and Pulled Chicken Tandoor Baos. Not to forget are the Brussel sprouts you just have to order on the side!

What’s your favorite restaurant? Let us know…

Until then, happy eating! xx
MASTI Cocktails & Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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