This feature was first published on our Food Blog Indian Food Freak where it can be accessed at http://www.indianfoodfreak.com/2016/09/26/masque-mumbai-and-what-lies-within/
We all have a social mask, right? We put it on, we go out, put our best foot forward, our best image. But behind that social mask is a personal truth, what we really, really believe about who we are and what we’re capable of – Phil McGraw
If I was to sum up the newly opened restaurant Masque in a few lines, these are precisely the lines that I would use. Located in the interiors of Lakshmi Woollen mills in the by-lanes of Mahalakshmi area, the access to this place could be quite daunting and can put you at a mild unease if you were to go there for the first time. Similarly the stark black granite façade of this restaurant does not give a clue of what lies within.
Like a mask that hides the real person behind it, the black façade hides behind its dark exterior, an interior which is a stark contrast to its dark gloomy self and gives an awe-inspiring feeling of space. The huge metallic art installation in the centre of the room adds to the charm. High Ceiling, theatre like curtains, an elegant mezzanine private space, a gorgeous washroom, a waist high bar and smartly uniformed staff; every element complements the decor and makes the diners feel that they are part of an eclectic caste of a Broadway show.
Our “Botanical Bistronomy” show starts with a tour into the spic and span kitchen where a massive team of chefs are busy creating the experiences (calling them dishes would be undermining their brilliance) for the diners. The names of each diner is proudly displayed on a white board in the kitchen and their individual preferences (and allergies) are clearly stated next to their names.
As we sit down and gear up to this theatrical dining experience, the first act is produced before us in the form of the bar menu. The restaurant has introduced a very interesting concept where the diners can create their very own guided cocktail, these recipes are stored in the bar files and a card mentioning the number of the drinks are given to you for future reference, which can be ordered each time you revisit the restaurant again.
There are no a la carte options available at the restaurant and the diners are asked to choose from a selection of 3 course, 6 course and a 9 course menu. The menu, which would change monthly, is designed meticulously using produce procured from different parts of the globe and the food does reflect the freshness of the produce to the last bite.
It would be difficult for me to point out any ONE highlight of our meal as each dish during our tasting was a star in its own right. Be it the charred-on-the-table sweet corn Tamale or the extremely fresh resplendent tomato and pesto open quiche, the succulent tail of a Lobster on a mustard mash with smoke blacked potatoes or Morel stuffed Ravioli – each dish excelled in showcasing the ingredients.
Do look out for the Lamb shank in miso sauce and the Chicken with stuffed Morels which were well executed as well. The only weak point in this noteworthy ensemble was perhaps the struggling wine pairing which can use a little bit of polishing but otherwise the entire experience was quite stellar.
The restaurant has successfully taken inspiration from European kitchens and recreated an experiential food theatre that scores on all points, aesthetics, appeal, taste, vision, execution, freshness, innovativeness. The pricing is not exactly cheap but then if you go to a European restaurant with a similar concept and quality, you would probably end up paying far more. The place reflects, as I quoted in my first lines, the team´s commitment to serve the freshest and the best ingredients to the diners which also reflects upon the food; their sincerity towards it all shines through this entire Farm-to-Fork experience. To me, this place certainly has what it takes to become a destination for those oh-so-special moments and I would love to revisit it soon to see what other surprises they have in store for us.