The first licensed spot opens at La Mer, but does it measure up to the hype?

Fun and mischief. That’s the Hindi translation for Masti, La Mer’s first licensed restaurant. As Indian restaurants go, Masti is definitely not your typical neighbourhood curry spot.

Firstly, its location overlooking the sea is brilliant. The terrace that snakes around the restaurant is a kaleidoscope of lime, aqua and fuchsia surrounded by leafy foliage that creates a contemporary, bright and inviting atmosphere.

We make our way up the industrial outdoor stairs, to the second storey of Masti, glancing around their soon-to-open specialist gin room (it will have the largest selection in the region when complete, the manager Adam informs us) before taking a table on the corner of the outdoor lounge.

“Welcome to New India,” we’re told.

The menu is split into cold plates, sea, earth, poultry, red meats, sides and sweets, and each person is advised to select two or three plates. Each dish is inspired from around the world, but incorporates Indian spices and flavour combinations.

The tuna bhel tartare (Dhs65) is a perfect example of this: the tartare is served inside an edible sphere, cracked open to reveal light dices of tuna with avocado crema and chickpea crisp. We enjoy it almost as much as the BC pizza (Dhs75); a burrata pizza smothered in butter chicken that combines two polar opposites very well. Skip the saag paneer lasagna (Dhs65), a dish that arrived rather cold, and instead order the 48-hour slow cooked octopus (Dhs85) that comes with a cauliflower cream, pimento beet sauce and pickled onion.

But be sure to save room for dessert, the carrot coconut cake (Dhs50) is a flavour fusion of carrot and coconut that shouldn’t work but does. In fact, we came away with a copy of the recipe…

It would be easy for a restaurant like Masti with its enviable location to rest on its laurels, play it safe and soak up the footfall of La Mer. But we’re glad that it’s taking risks and trying something new. Once the DJ is up and spinning and the seafront spot is completely open, Masti should become one of the best places to have fun by the beach.

La Mer, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, daily noon to midnight, upstairs lounge 5pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3444384. Taxi: La Mer.

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Images: Supplied