In Hindi, Masti means “fun” or “playful mischief”. It’s also the name of chef Manpreet Sekhon’s North Indian eatery in Fitzroy.
The vibrant 70-seat venue embodies that playful spirit from the floors to the ceiling. It’s fitted out with a red neon sign, exposed brick walls, chunky red threads strung across the ceiling, and a large mural splashed across the rear wall. Out back, there’s also al fresco seating with room for another 30 diners.
With Masti, Sekhon (also behind CBD diner Elchi and Eastern Spice in Geelong) wanted to pay homage to her Punjabi heritage and the food her mother made at home. While dishes are presented with a contemporary twist, the flavours and textures are firmly rooted in family tradition. For starters, the soya chaap (skewers of soy protein marinated in a tangy coriander and mint paste) and crispy Manchurian cauliflower, coated in sesame seeds, honey, chilli and spring onion, are standouts.
Curry highlights include traditional Punjabi butter chicken (which, in line with Punjabi style, isn't sweet – an important detail for Sekhon); lamb rogan josh with fennel seeds, black cardamom, bay leaves and cloves; kadai paneer (cottage cheese cooked with capsicums and tomato); and fig and pomegranate kofta in a cashew and shallot gravy. All pair well with the popular green-chilli naan. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, too, including specially made vegan roti and naan.
To drink, find creative cocktails – like the Turmeric Tommy’s and Masti Lassi – infused with Indian-leaning ingredients like cardamom, turmeric and mango. The Pink City (named after the Rajasthani city of Jaipur, and made with gin, hibiscus and pomegranate) is also popular. The team’s also got the classics covered, serving up Espresso Martinis alongside a clutch of local wines and craft beers, plus Kingfisher on tap.
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