French fusion to stun The Masses
The moment I posted about my meal at The Masses on Instagram stories, the DMs (direct messages) started coming in.
It was overwhelmingly positive, all telling me they loved the food.
Expectations were raised and met. I liked it so much that I went back the next day with my family. And to think prior to that, I did not know of its existence.
In case you are as clueless as I was, The Masses in Beach Road offers inexpensive food that is a blend of Asian flavours and French techniques. It continues the journey that Saveur took.
And that choice is not a surprise because The Masses' chef-owner Dylan Ong was behind Saveur. Nothing is over $30 and we had a hearty meal for four at around $40 a person.
The good thing about young chefs is their restlessness. It means there will always be something new. The Masses is two years old, and it is already on Menu 7.0.
Then there is the music selection. On my two visits there, the music ranged from Bee Gees to Nicki Minaj, often one after the other. Some may find it distracting, but it resembled my own Spotify playlist, so I was entertained.
A new entry into the menu is A Bowl Of Dylan's Memories: V2 ($18.90). The name may seem conceited but when you taste it, you will be thankful he remembered.
It is a serving of tender roasted chicken thigh, savoy cabbage, pickled duck fat mushroom and addictive XO rice.
Roast chicken was one of chef Ong's favourite childhood dishes. This version may end up creating memories for others.
The Nagano Pork Tomahawk ($24.90) - a take on sweet and sour pork - is excellent. The pork has a good fat-to-meat ratio, with an almost-crunchy coat of crackers. The sauce leans towards sweet but it works.
At $16.90, the Chargrilled Australia Octopus is one of the best deals here. It is quite tasty.
The octopus is grilled on the binchotan before it is served on a bed of lobster bisque porridge. Then chorizo crumble is added on top.
The octopus remains tender and sweet, but it is that small amount of intense porridge that keeps it interesting.
Many of the dishes I like are vegetable forward, like the Roasted Cauliflower ($14.90).
The main item is that beautifully roasted cauliflower that is soft enough but retains a slight crunch. The lardo gives it dimension and the chilli oil adds heat. It was better when I returned because the sauce became a touch more tart.
The C&C&C&C + Sea Urchin Pasta (from $10.90) is a mouthful to say but this is a hit here, and it remains on the menu.
The four Cs are crab, caviar, clams and chorizo, and you can add oomph to the dish by adding sea urchin (for an additional $6).
I was rather taken aback when I found out it is a cold dish - chilled pasta hitting the tongue is an experience - but I think the chill makes it cooler.
The flavours are compacted into this burst of umami.