The Reserve at MASTI

Food is Indian-style fusion, and it’s exceptional

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look, we love the sun, we really do. But every summer we spend three months of the year refusing to move anywhere more than two feet away from blasting air-con.

Unfortunately it means fantastic coast spots like Jumeirah, Kite Beach or The Beach become a little neglected, isolating the brilliant restaurant, cafés and ice cream parlours, too. So, it’s for that reason that as the temperatures begin to subside we run back into the open arms of La Mer and one of its standout al fresco hotspots MASTI.

And MASTI, we salute you. The Reserve Friday brunch is absolutely excellent, a real success that we guarantee will tick all the boxes. Superb drinks, yes. Even better food, double yes. Sea breeze, sun-kissed terrace and ample room to soak it all in – you bet.

Brunch runs in two sessions from noon to 4pm and 2pm to 6pm. It’s à la carte – with all-you-can-eat cold appetisers and a choice of one hot starter, one main and puddings. Servings are plentiful so trust us when we say you won’t leave hungry – and what’s more in vogue than à la carte brunches these days anyway? Adding to the variety of packages is two drinks-only deals – Game Ranger is soft drinks (Dhs125) or Raging Bull is selected beverages (Dhs250). The deal evidently works as there’s a mix of drinkers and diners throughout the afternoon. Couples, holidaymakers and seasoned brunchers in the mood for a laid-back afternoon fill the space, inside and out.

MASTI’s interior is playful, vibrant and sits somewhere in the middle of casual and fancy – while the sweeping views of the picturesque beach are brilliant. Staff are friendly, welcoming and our bearded host is dapper in a red suit and bounces from table to table smiling, joking and advising. This is a slick and well-run operation.

We begin with a selection of the interesting mixed drinks and a selection of the interesting mixed starters. Food is Indian-style fusion, and it’s exceptional. The cassava chaat is a spicy mix of crunch, sweet, sour and nuts. The mango and avocado ceviche is summer in a bowl and the tuna behl tartare is so good it’s ordered three times (completely going against our longstanding brunch rule of not filling up on the starters).

Hot appetisers arrive just as a male and female double act take the stage to perform an acoustic guitar set of chart-topping favourites. The burrata and truffle pizza is as delicious as it sounds, while the yellow pepper kingfish is roasted in a tandoor oven and is bursting with flavours of India.
Pulled tandoori chicken bao buns are served with two pipettes of tamarind glaze poking out of them, and though the buns are a touch dry, the spicy, tangy filling is delicious.

As the mixed drinks keep flowing so does the food: mains are tender chunks of osso buco, MASTI’s take on paella and a lip-smackingly good chicken bharta with an easy egg on top. Dunk large pieces of flatbread into the runny yolk, scoop up the creamy, yet fiery curry and enjoy. The paella is a little flat and is definitely outshined by actual Spanish restaurants in the city, but it’s by no means a disaster, but another curry in its place would’ve been far more welcome, and fitting.

We head out onto the terrace for an hour of digesting, while sharing a chocolate delice pudding in that old friend of ours the sun.

And, we’re in love again.
Dhs350 (soft drinks), Dhs475 (selected beverages). Drinks only Dhs125 (soft drinks), Dhs250 (selected beverages). Licensed. Fri noon-4pm; 2pm-6pm. South La Mer, Jumeirah 1 (04 526 9365).

WHAT IS IT...
Four-hour brunch with excellent mixed drinks and an à la carte-style menu

WHY GO...
Everything you want from an al fresco brunch, and more

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