Masti La Mer Dubai review
A stained glass elephant staring out from behind the bar is evidence that Masti has embraced a British Raj-esque decor that can often be the death-knell of many high-end Indian restaurants, but the bright multi-coloured décor comes across as more elegant than exaggerated.
Masti is exactly the kind of place that La Mer’s developer, Meraas, was aiming for when it first proposed the area. Namely: cool, young and hip.
Its interior is basically everything one might think India is, but on steroids. The name itself comes from a Sanskrit word roughly translated as ‘fun’, and that’s exactly what the restaurant is. The ground level focuses more on the walk-in, beach-going crowd, while the upper floor is for those looking for the masti of Masti.
Forget the UAE’s recent fascination with high-end, modern Indian cuisine, this place is quirky and charismatic, and perhaps sometimes a little off kilter with its menu bizarrely featuring a burrito and a truffle pizza.
But there is method to the madness. Masti’s staff stress that the restaurant is ‘inspired by India’. Keyword: ‘inspired’.
While other Indian restaurants of the same ilk in Dubai tend to go for the over-the-top, multi-sensory overload approach, Masti’s food seeks a balance between modern and that achingly familiar taste of India. Prime examples of this are the special butter chicken pizza and the dynamite prawns koliwada—dishes you’ll only find here.
The menu doesn’t stick to just one particular geographic location either. It strives to convey all the different cuisines that exist in India, from pulled tandoori chicken of the north to the gunpowder scallop of the south, the jerk bbq beef chaat of the east and the smoked lentil and quinoa tikka of the west.
While there are plenty of vegetarian options, the meat-eaters among us should seek out the Tamarind barbecue beef ribs, served with traditional street side corn, picked red chilli and red cabbage smashed potatoes.
All in all, we can safely say that this is not just another Indian restaurant in Dubai. Unlike most, it draws on Dubai’s young, hip, cosmopolitan Indian audience and reflects what they are: trying to break the mold of the traditional and striking off in their own direction, while remembering their roots.
Masti, La Mer South, Dubai. 5pm to 1am.