Soon after opening its doors in September 2016, Masque was hailed as Mumbai’s most ambitious restaurant. The combination of a tasting menu-only concept, a focus on seasonal and local Indian ingredients, and a striking dining room set inside one of Mumbai’s former cotton mills quickly attracted the attention of Asia’s culinary cognoscenti. The restaurant’s ascent now culminates in Masque receiving the One To Watch Award 2020, recognising it as a rising star in the region.
Founded by Prateek Sadhu, its executive chef, and Aditi Dugar, now the restaurant director, Masque aims to change the way Indian food is perceived around the world. By putting the focus on indigenous ingredients and transforming traditional recipes into modern and elegant dishes, Sadhu and Dugar are crafting new Indian flavours and dreaming of developing a strong legacy for the country’s cuisine.
Hailing from the region of Jammu in northern India, Sadhu started cooking with his mother and aunt at the age of ten and subsequently decided to pursue it as a profession. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and went on to work at many world-renowned restaurants in the US and beyond, including Alinea, The French Laundry, Le Bernardin and Noma. After moving back to India in 2014, Sadhu was approached by Dugar, an entrepreneur and cook, with the idea of opening their own restaurant.
Between 2014 and 2016, Sadhu led Dugar – who was born and raised in Mumbai – on a trip across India, discovering local ingredients, researching traditional preparations and gathering inspiration for Masque. As their vision came into focus, the duo set on the idea of creating a farm-to-table, tasting menu-only restaurant in Mumbai.
Located in a disused cotton mill, Masque features a striking and elegant dining room with high ceilings and fluted walls. The ten-course seasonal tasting menu, available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions, takes the diner on a journey through Indian flavours as seen through chef Sadhu’s creative lens.
Taking inspiration from his own childhood memories as well as regional Indian recipes, Sadhu creates dishes such as the smoked mackerel on buckwheat toast. Inspired by a traditional Kashmiri recipe, Sadhu reconstructs the three main components of the original dish – the smokiness of the fish, the zing of the chutney and the fresh bread – in his own version, with hearth-smoked mackerel, a chutney made from fresh herbs from Masque’s farm, and Indian bread.
As its influence expands, Masque is setting a new standard for restaurants in Mumbai and beyond, leading the way with its sustainable, ingredient-focused yet deeply rooted ethos.
Now read the interview with Sadhu and Dugar on 50 Best Stories.