Nestled in a high-ceilinged industrial space in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, Masque may seem like any other fine-dining restaurant, but that misconception is quickly replaced by its cult like passion for food. Seated at the table, the host introduces the restaurant’s ethos that originates from the ‘wilderness-to-table’ concept — a confluence of locally farmed ingredients and modern techniques. Chef Prateek Sadhu’s Kashmiri background plays a pivotal role in Masque’s fare as well. Since there is no menu presented at the start, the restaurant relies on the compelling storytelling of its staff to explain the dishes.
The courses start with two bite sized dishes, a modern pani puri, which evokes a nostalgic storm of street flavours, and a sesame cauliflower tart (inspired by a local Thai delicacy), which is delicate as it is flavourful. As the courses keep coming to my table, I realise that each dish showcases a specific hero ingredient from their farm. The Chef’s heritage is brought to life with his take on katlam, a local fluffy Kashmiri bread, that was sent to bake when I entered the restaurant. Eaten as a sandwich with a contrasting smoked white eggplant mush and sour cream, this fluffy and airy delight makes it to my top three courses.
Barramundi fish on toast, which is smoked to perfection while giving way to the coconut-infused toast underneath and a Kashmiri morel and parsnip broth with three types of mushrooms are also served. Already quite full, I am then taken to Masque’s spotless kitchen and served a passion fruit and persimmon palate cleanser that’s topped with red chillies for that pop. The main course makes for my favourite dish of the night — the black sesame and smoked pork neck, which could fall apart under the weight of a feather. The curtain call is a tray of assorted chocolates and repurposed pumpkin mithai.
Verdict: Masque hits the spot when it comes to modern Indian cuisine with an eclectic ambience and careful execution.
Hours: 1930-1230 (Tuesdays-Sundays)
Price: Set menu (ten courses) is priced at ₹3,950
Contact: Masque, Unit G3, Shree Laxmi Woollen Mills, Shakti Mills Lane, Off, Dr E Moses Road, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400011;