Opened by Chef Dylan Ong, one of the former co-owners of Saveur is The Masses (the other co-owner Chef Joshua Khoo now runs Taste Affair at Amoy Street Food Centre), which takes over the spot of now defunct Black Tongue Bistro and Bar along Beach Road.
The Masses is envisioned as a place where quality, happy food is served at pocket-friendly prices; a place that is increasingly rare in Singapore especially for how expensive a city we have become. The interior is pretty reminiscent of its former tenant, but barely so; there is a sense of familiarity around the corners especially with the partitions and certain key fixtures kept, though there is also a new soul to the spot with its bright interior, plush furnishings and flashy neon lights. Keeping much to the spirit of how Saveur started, The Masses serves contemporary cuisine at affordable prices with mains mostly below $20 (at the point of writing during their soft launch) with quite a selection of sides and also a good variety of desserts available.
Available in two sizes, we ordered our C+C Pasta in the size of a starter. A cold pasta dish, the pasta is laced in a umami sauce that despite its lightness, opens up the appetite to start the meal properly. The C+C refers to crabmeat and caviar that is topped above the pasta — they seem pretty generous with the caviar here too.
The Honey Garlic Miso Chicken Breast came with celeriac purée and sautéed kale; the chicken breast was considerably tender and smooth; it pairs up well with the celeriac purée which is pretty much like smooth mash but with just a hint of that familiar celery flavour with a little sweetness from the honey to cut it just nicely. Chicken scratchings are included to introduce a little crispness to the dish. While the sautéed kale was decent, we were wondering if kale chips might have been a better option here though.
The Duroc Pork Loin was decently fatty and lean at the same time; tender, juicy and succulent. The truffle scrambled eggs worked like a mash here; incredibly fine but yet not missing out on its egginess and comes with a whiff of truffle aroma. Just like the chicken dish, pork crackling is added for a bit of crispiness. One of the dishes that seemingly suit the vibes of a lazy weekend brunch especially with the truffle scrambled eggs that come with it.
The Deep-Fried Camembert was an item that I seriously was looking forward to trying (my dining partner visited them a day earlier and sent me their menu for reference). Sure enough, this didn’t disappoint — the dish was created to hit all of the sensory points from the contrast in temperature, texture and all the way to its flavour. To start off, the Deep-Fried Camembert is served with Vanilla Ice-Cream, Honey Lavender and Gula Melaka Granola; both ice-cream and the deep-fried Camembert are cold and hot elements on the dish respectively to create the temperature contrast. There, the dessert carries a crunch from the granola, smoothness and creaminess from the ice-cream and gooey, melted Camembert; the cheese itself a savoury affair matched with a hint of floral sweetness of the lavender honey and the nuttiness of the granola. It’s a well thought out dessert that tries to hit every touch point to provide a trip round the different flavours and textures; an innovative use of cheese as a dessert in the local context that was easy to accept, and itself was something we would really find ourselves returning to The Masses for another day.
While conversing with Chef Dylan about the Camembert, he suggested that we should give the Valrhona (66%) Dark Chocolate Mousse a try. One of the key things about the Valrhona Chocolate Mousse is that the chocolate is kept in its pure form here in the making of the dessert without added sugar nor the use of egg yolks to smoothen the mousse. Rice Krispies had been added for a crunch, while blackberries help to cut through the rich and decadent chocolate flavours in between (some might find it a tad too sour though). The scoop of chocolate ice-cream added on top was also pretty balanced and bittersweet, with olive oil drizzled to smoothen the mousse. It’s a mellow, rich and decadent dessert, showcasing quality and the bittersweet flavours of the Valrhona chocolate used — a dessert that would sit with chocolate lovers very well.
Overall, our experience at The Masses was a pleasant one. The service was warm, there was a thought process behind the food served and that the food was of a good quality and it’s price point which is quite affordable as compared to many other places serving contemporary fare — it is pretty much what they envisioned it to be; quality and affordable contemporary cuisine made available to the public with a good vibe. There is no doubt we would be back to try more of the items they have to offer — that also includes the Deep-Fried Camembert that we found to be “to die for”. Chef Dylan has shared that there are plans to introduce set lunches soon; a good move considering it’s in an area surrounded by offices. Would definitely be keeping a look out for what they would be coming up with in the future!
85 Beach Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/themassessg/