Published on Monday, 16 October 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
The birth of The Masses was conceptualized from the belief that food should enthrall its audience with simple recipes made divine from the superior quality of its ingredients, yet with a price tag that can comfortably accommodate the common people.
Dylan Ong, who formerly started Saveur with a partner, spearheaded the creation of The Masses after the Saveur duo went their separate ways. Dylan changes up The Masses’ menu once every four months to keep things fresh and exciting, while retaining some of its crowd-favorite dishes for enamored regulars and new customers to fall in love with.
12 Hrs Boiled Chicken Collagen Veloute, $8
Clams, Duckfat, Scallion Oil
Thick, luscious and creamy, this soup leaves a sticky mouthfeel from the high content of collagen contained within. The clams which have been boiled into the soup are plump and juicy and have infused the viscous liquid with a sweet taste of the sea.
The Egg (CR), $9
Ikura, Potato Chips, Chives, Beurre Noisette
Under the pile of ikura, ebikko, chives and potato chips is a steaming bowl of soft and custardy chawanmushi. The chawanmushi is so soft that it melts in your mouth, complemented with the nutty silkiness of the beurre noisette (brown butter) and the juicy and savory pop of the ikura and ebikko. Unfortunately, the weird texture of the potato chips spoiled this dish for us. The chips have this bizarre soggy cardboard texture and are rather bland, which takes away a lot of the flavor from the egg.
Grilled Avocado (V), $9
Pickled Japanese Radish, Cream Cheese, Almond Crumble (Vegetarian option)
The grill marks on the avocado impart a slightly smoky and bitter flavor to the ever-green creaminess of the avocado. The brininess of the pickles and tanginess of the sour cream contribute to a refreshingly zesty flavor, while the almond crumble gives a contrasting nutty crunch to the dish.
C & C Pasta (Served Cold), $9 as starter, $14 as main
Crabmeat, Caviar, Lobster Bisque
The first several bites of this chilled pasta is refreshing and invigorating with the sweet lobster bisque sauce loaded with chunks of malty swimmer crab meat. However, with more bites that you take, the base sauce gets rather cloying and overwhelming, and the slimy, heavy and chunky texture of it morphs into a rather unappetizing gooey glob in your mouth. We would suggest either ordering this as a starter or sharing the full sized portion with your friends so that you can thoroughly enjoy the richness of this dish without smothering your palette.
Duck Confit, $14.90
Wild Sautéed Mushrooms, Chestnut Croquette, Orange Gastrique, Chicken Sauce
The best part about every superbly cooked duck confit is the skin. The skin on The Masses’ duck confit crackles with a savory and oily goodness, so thin and brittle that it shatters into multitudinous delicious shards with a perfunctory bite. The orange gastrique gives an uplifting fruity tanginess to the richness of the dense duck meat. But other than the orange reduction which gives it a sweet and sour flavor combination, the meat lacks in taste and succulency. We have had many other duck confits that explode and flow with juices upon cutting into it, a feature that the duck confit here does not mirror.
Chicken Breast (BR), $14.90
Truffle Mousseline, Sautéed Organic Watercress, Chicken Floss
This is probably what we imagine a chef-turned-bodybuilder will whip up in his kitchen to bulk up. This dish is very clean-tasting and healthy, which brings to mind the hashtag #eatclean. It is devoid of robust tastes, but makes up for it with its moist and tender chicken breast.
Deep-Fried Camembert (CR), $8.90
Yoghurt Ice Cream, Gula Melaka Granola, Lavender Honey
This is a rather avant-garde dessert that tastes a little bizarre for lovers of familiar dessert flavors. The yoghurt ice cream is a tad bit sour that leaves a strange gritty texture on your tongue, the white flakes that top the ice cream has an odd styrofoam texture which melts in the mouth to a bland paste. The lavendar honey and gula melaka granola provides just a hint of sweetness to the off-tasting ice cream. The deep-fried camembert (a battered wedge of cheese coated in panko crumbs and deep-fried to golden-brown) is rich, heavy and extremely creamy, which drastically clashes with the rest of the dessert’s components.
Not Your Average Cheese Cake, $10.90
Horlick Mousse, Almond Crumble, Smoked Apple Purée, Horlick Ice Cream, Apple
Things are not all it seems with this cheese cake, for it is completely not a cheese cake and does not contain any cheese or cake whatsoever. Instead, what you get is is heap of horlick mousse that has a fluffy and very dense whipped cream texture, the horlick flavor is non-existent and lost in translation. There is also an absence of the malty horlick taste in the horlick ice cream which comes off tasting more like vanilla instead. The almond crumble, smoked apple purée and diced apples are a nice touch in giving a more multi-dimensional taste and texture to this dessert.
Though the prices may seem rather reasonable for these sophisticated gourmet dishes, the portions ladled out are rather small, and the mains can almost pass off as starters due to the meager servings. If you are expecting wholesome, hearty meals, this is not the place for you.
Our tasting group of six consisted of small eaters who each will verge at bursting at the seams from just consuming a plate of cabonara, but we were barely even at 40% of our stomach capacity after tasting all 8 dishes listed above. It is of our concern that it may take a lot of ordering to be appropriately satisfied at The Masses, and the bill may rack up quite considerably.
However, if you’re just looking for a place to chill out for afternoon tea and appease your munchies without over-indulging, The Masses with its unique and petite culinary offerings can satiate that very need.
Address: 85 Beach Road, Singapore 189694
Hours: Mon, Tues & Thurs 12pm – 9.30pm, Wed, Fri & Sat 12pm – 12am, Sun 12pm – 9pm
Hi, I'm Cheryl. I possess a joie de vivre spirit unique to my character, my expressions of euphoria are wild in nature and I approach life like one colossal party. I love venturing into the unknown and exploring all that is possible; from exotic foods to cliff-diving. When I am not seeking out something extraordinary to check off my bucket list, I love curling up on a comfy couch with a glass of wine and a book in hand. Follow my personal adventures in my blog here where I let loose of all inhibitions, voice my inner-most emotions, exult in all that is wonderful, unleash the monsters within, lose myself in beautiful reveries, reminisce treasured memories and curate recherché experiences.