Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hawkerman at SingPost Centre

Hawkerman, a newly opened 75-seater eatery by Ben Yeo, the actor and TV host, together with Tenderfresh Group, Warong Kim's and Ah Boy Popiah. You will order and pay at the counter, a page is given for you to collect your food when it is ready.

Tenderfresh Group is a popular fried chicken chain. There is a Lucky Set ($7.90) that consists of 2 pieces of fried chicken with fries and coleslaw. Another interesting dish is O-Leek Chicken ($12.90), the fried chicken is served with their special soy-onion sauce together with fried and fresh leeks, it is served with fried yam strips instead of the usual fries, with XO sauce and homemade kimchi coleslaw, which is named Kimslaw. Warong Kim's is originally the Kim's Fried Hokkien Mee. Their popular choice is La La Hokkien Mee ($9.90) with white clams, prawns, and sotong created by master Tan Kue Kim, he is well-known for his wearing long-sleeved shirt and Rolex watch when frying his Hokkien mee. His son is behind the setup and also their signature "Lolex Hokkien Mee" ($44.90), consisting a lobster together with prawns, clams, and sotong. Ah Boy's Popiah is using the recipe that has been handed down by decades ago, the same that started Good Chance Popiah, a brand name that has been around for decades. The Hokkien Popiah ($3.90) and Skinny Popiah ($4.90), serving with crispy chicken skin and salted egg sauce are their popular choices. 


I decided to go with the Bao Ka Liao platter ($32.90) to share with my dining companion, it literally means "including everything" in Hokkien and is highly recommended by some food bloggers. It has 7 types of dishes, consisting half of the Tenderfresh's Signature Fried Spring Chicken, Hokkien Mee from Warong Kim's and the Hokkien Popiah from Ah Boy's Popiah. The platter also includes Citrus Plum Watermelon, homemade carrot cake with the XO sauce, fried muah chee with kimchi coleslaw, double yolks chicken. The set is supposed to feed 2, which we find it to be just enough though not filling and I do not think this platter is worth $32.90. I posted it on my Facebook and some of my friends there suggested it should be priced in between $18 to $25. 


The best of all has to be the Fried Spring Chicken, it was fried well to the desired crispiness and rather flavorful and we enjoyed it. This would likely to be the only dish that we will come back for.


The Hokkien Popiah was just fine, though not particularly outstanding as the flavor was rather mild. My dining companion was not impressed. 


Homemade carrot cake with bits of fried egg and preserved radish. The XO sauce is served in a saucer by itself and it was placed just beside the fried chicken, it could be easily overlooked and missed it out, which happened to us. My dining companion was initially commenting that the carrot cake did not have much taste before realizing it is supposed to eat along with that saucer of sauce. 


The Double Yolks Chicken, the egg salad did not have much effect in enhancing its flavor.


Fried Muah Chee with Kimchi Coleslaw was the only dish that surprised us, it actually tasted better than its look with a slight spiciness and it tasted quite special. 


The Hokkien Mee has no distinctive wok flavor and a bit too wet to my liking, it was quite disappointing when I compared it to the version done by master Tan but my dining companion deemed it to be quite acceptable. Perhaps I am expecting too much. 


Citrus Plum Watermelon was quite refreshing, it would be even so if it is served chilled and not at room temperature. 


There are some interesting desserts on their menu like the Durian 'N Jack Popiah ($5.90), it consists of durian and jackfruit with coconut ice-cream in popiah skin. Singapura Ice Cream ($5.90) is equally interesting, the coconut ice-cream is served with durian and some traditional snacks like gong tang, peanut sweet, ice gem biscuit with gula melaka.

The overall experience was not quite spectacular and I am not likely to come back soon. 


HAWKERMAN
10 Eunos Road 8 SingPost Centre #B1-128/129 SINGAPORE 408600
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.30 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap at New Upper Changi Road

Melvin Chew, the owner, took over the stall and is running it with his mother after the passing of his father which happened quite suddenly. His parents started from a pushcart selling cut fruits before moving to Chinatown Complex Food Centre in 1983 to start serving Teochew style Braised Duck and Kway Chap. He has been helping out at the stall since young. And, he has recently opened another outlet in a coffee shop along New Upper Changi Road.

And, Kway Chap was the first dish that I tried and I did not like it as much then as the rice noodles were too thick to my liking. I went back to try the Braised Duck Rice Bento later, it was not too memorable as well. I was not even impressed by its creativity but deemed it to be gimmicky instead but even so, it is a good move in getting the younger customers.


I decided to go with The Quack Donburi Set at $5.00 this time. It consists of a portion of yam rice with braised duck, preserved vegetable, cucumber slices, half of a braised egg and a piece of daikon topped with hae bee hiam and fried garlic. The bowl of soup that served along with it has a light herbal flavor. 


My dining companion commented that the yam rice has a distinctive ham bee (dried shrimp) taste and he liked it. He said, "I do not remember it was this nice when I tasted the yam rice balls of the bento set. It was quite dry then with not much flavor." We both agreed that the braised duck was not as flavorful as we expected it to be and its texture was slightly tough as well. The ajitsuke tamago-inspired braised egg was done just right to have a soft and runny yolk. The chilli was quite good with just the right level of spiciness and a slight garlicky taste, which is quite nice.


Though their braised duck is not the best, the yam rice is amongst the nicest that I tried. 


JIN JI TEOCHEW BRAISED DUCK & KWAY CHAP
335 Smith Street #02-156 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 6.30 pm (Closed on Friday)

Block 56 New Upper Changi Road #01-1314 Kopi Kia SINGAPORE 460156
Operating Hours: 10.30 am  to 6.30 pm (Closed on Friday)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette at Toa Payoh

The queue was long on a Saturday during lunch with a relatively long waiting time to be expected. This stall is manned by an elderly couple, the auntie is taking the orders and collecting payments, uncle is doing the cooking. It was awarded a 6-chopsticks by Makansutra and that means this is one of "die-die-must-try" stalls. This is one of the most talked about Fried Oyster Omelette stalls and is amongst one of those popular recommendations. 


Fried Oyster Omelette is the only dish serves at $4, $5 and $8. I decided to go with $8 to share with my dining companion. Though not a huge portion, it served with a generous amount of egg and quite a few pieces of plump oysters, garnished with coriander and served along with chilli in the saucer.

I was not disappointed as it met my expectations though not exceedingly but this is a good plate of Fried Oyster Omelette nonetheless. 


AH CHUAN FRIED OYSTER OMELETTE
Block 22 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 #01-25 Kim Keat Food Centre SINGAPORE 310022
Operating Hours: 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Shi Zhen Fish Soup : comforting choice

This is a humble stall that has been around since 1968 and is manned by an elderly couple. I decided to have Fried & Sliced Fish Soup at $5, the smallest portion is at $4 and the largest portion is at $8. There are also options like Seafood Soup, Sliced Fish Bitter Gourd Soup, Fish Head Soup, Sliced Fish Bee Hoon, Fish Porridge and Teochew Dumpling. I was given the choice of having it with or without milk which I opted to have it with milk. The rice is served at 0.50 cents per bowl.



It is self-service so I waited there for it to be ready. It was a bowl of goodness consists of fried and sliced fish with bitter gourd, Chinese cabbage, tomato, and dried seaweed. The fish tasted relatively fresh. The soup has a slight milky taste and without a hint of MSG. This is a healthier choice for lunch and it is comforting at the same time, particularly so on a rainy day. 


Their menu also includes Fish Head Steamboat, Homemade Prawn Roll, Fried Oyster Egg, Tom Yum Seafood Soup, Double Fish Soup, Scallop Crayfish Bee Hoon / Porridge, Steamed Grouper with Bee Hoon, Crab Bee Hoon.


SHI ZHEN FISH SOUP
Block 127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #02-08 Toa Payoh West Food Centre SINGAPORE 310127

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yishun Park Hawker Centre : What to Eat?

Yishun Park Hawker Centre is a 800-seats hawker centre opened on 22 September 2017, located just opposite the Yishun Park as its name suggested and is managed by Timbre Group. If you have wonder what to eat at this new hawker centre, this is my list of what to eat there, there are some hits and misses but generally are good. You might want to take note of the 0.50 cents deposit for the usual of the tray that will be returned upon its return at the stations, located at both ends of the hawker centre. 

YAM MEE - THE TEOCHEW NOODLE
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 9.00 pm (Daily)

Anthea Tan, 25, a graduate of National University of Singapore with a degree in Sociology, She chooses not to enter the corporate world like her fellow graduates but working at the Teochew fishball noodles stall with her father. She has been doing so for years and she wants to continue to be a part of it. She is amongst one of the 25 young hawkers selected for the Tiger Street Food Support Fund and received a start-up grant of $10,000. She then expanded the business to the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre. Their original stall is at Kovan Food Centre and it has been around for more than 30 years. Like the other stall, they serve Fishball Noodle, Laksa and Chicken Curry Mee. 


My usual order has always been Keow Teow Dry and I will go with extra chili.  The texture was cooked just right, the spiciness of the chili enhanced and brought forth the flavor, which is nice. They just came out with the Loyalty Card, a stamp is given for every order and when accumulated to 8 stamps, the next order is free.


NASI LEMAK AYAM TALIWANG
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Mohammed Noorman Mubarak, 38 together with Puti Andam Dewi Henry, 31, his Indonesian-born wife, are the owners of this stall. Noorman used to help up at his father's stalls that served nasi lemak, nasi ayam in hawker centres in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Newton. He started doing so since he was just 5 years old. He did not take over the stall when his father retired in 2003. He joined Singapore Airlines as cabin crew and he met his wife while working together. He then worked as a project manager in oil rig industry for another 7 years before he decided to set up this stall with his wife and Muhammad Ikhram, 38, his long-time friend.

Ayam Taliwang ($5.50), a humble Indonesian dish that is served together with the spicy grilled chicken, tempeh, ikan bilis and kang kong with sambal chili by the side. The level of spiciness has toned down quite a bit as my dining companion that has a little tolerance for spicy food think its spiciness is quite manageable. The flavor is addictively strong but I do prefer it to be a little spicier.


Their Nasi Lemak ($3.50) with Chicken Wing is nice though it did not taste as memorable as their Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang, it was not too bad particularly the fried chicken wing. There are also Ayam Cabe Ijo (grilled chicken with green chilli) and Ayam Balado (grilled chicken with sambal chilli) on their menu for $5.50 each.


SMOKIN' JOE
Operating Hours: 1.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Joseph Yeo, 29, the owner, aims to bring restaurant-quality and high-value food to the masses at a cheaper price.  He graduated from SHATEC with a Diploma in Culinary Skills and he further perfected the skills working for a few restaurants. He started cooking when he was in primary school and he used to help out at his grandparents' hawker stall, serving fried carrot cake. The most popular item has to be the BBQ Boneless Chicken Leg ($7).  There are also the Sashimi Grade Baked Salmon ($14.00) and BBQ Wagyu Ribeye Grade 5 ($32) on his menu.


The charcoal-grilled chicken was served on a pile of mashed potato together with a piece of garlic bread and salad. I could taste the distinct charred flavor with a subtle smokiness. It was an enjoyable meal and I am interested to try the other dishes like their burger soon.


YAP'S NOODLES
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 9.00 pm

Henry Yap, 33, from Papan, a small town near the South of Ipoh, Malaysia, started this stall in Yishun Park Hawker Centre, serving Ipoh traditional favorites like the Ipoh Curry Mee, emphasizing on the hometown flavors and connecting him with home.


The Curry Mee is based on a recipe from his mother and he further fine-tuned it. It is different from the usual curry as it uses less curry powder together with ingredients like lemongrass, dried shrimps, garlic, chilies, and shallots as part of the spice paste. The spice paste is then fried over low heat for about 2 hours. The Curry Mee is served in soup and also served dry with ingredients like prawns, sotong, sio bak, taupok, long bean and fried pig's skin.

They also serve breakfast and what on their menu are the Cantonese-style congee, Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun with curry or minced meat mushroom sauce and also Ipoh Steamed Glutinous Rice that is served with peanuts, dried shrimps, and shredded egg, there is also a sweet version that is served with kaya. 


AH LOCK 豆腐店
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm / 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Lee Lock Teng, 24, an undergraduate of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in National of University (NTU), he decided to take a semester break of 6 months to operate this hawker stall, an "incubator stall" in the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre under the Timbre Group. Under this scheme, the hawkers just need to pay for the rental and utility fees, excluding the costs of pest control, dishwashing, and other costs. This is to allow the first-time hawkers to take up a stall for a year with kitchen equipment sponsored and some operational charges waived. They will also receive mentorship from Tommy Teo, the head chef of Timbre Group.

He started this stall to fund his university education as he has run of savings to pay for his school fees after the first year.  He came from a family of five and their total income is just enough to support the daily expenses. His mother, 47, is a housewife and his father, 51, is a technician. He has eaten his mother's Thunder Tea Rice and his grandmother's Hakka Yong Tau Foo since young. He started helping his mother to prepare meals since his primary school days. He picked up the kitchen skills and eventually learned to cook these dishes by himself. He cooked these dishes for friends that he met and also for those that offered accommodation to him when he went traveling for 5 months. 



Hakka Tofu Rice Bowl ($5.50) is one of their signature dishes, it is a combination of the traditional Hakka Yong Tau Foo and Thunder Tea Rice, presenting in the form of Japanese donburi. It consists of Japanese rice and topped with ingredients like deep-fried tofu and tau pok that stuffed with minced pork belly with meatballs, chopped long beans, and shredded seaweed. And, right at the centre, it is a pile of tofu cubes with sambal mayonnaise and garnished with Alfalfa sprouts. Their other signature dish is Hakka Meatball bowl ($4.50), it consists of 3 pieces of meatballs and tofu puffs on a bed of rice. 
The chili that came along was quite different from those that usually along with the Hakka Yong Tau Foo, the level of spiciness was rather mild with a slightly sweet undertone but went well with those pieces of Yong Tau Foo. 


AH TAN WINGS
Operating Hours: 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Tan Yu Yan, 28, started this stall with her brother, Tan Wee Yang, 25 and they are one of the 25 recipients of Tiger Beer Street Food Support Fund. Their menu consists of mainly Har Cheong Gai (Prawn Paste Chicken) based on a recipe that they have spent more than a year in perfecting it. And, that was after experimented up to 800 variations of the recipe which demonstrated great dedication. Though the process was rather challenging but fruitful, it was a journey that filled with many ups and downs. They used to be at different pop-up events while hunting for a permanent location. They kept on improving their recipe and doing online marketing at the same time before finally settling at Yishun Park Hawker Centre. The entire process was quite a struggle.  Their vision is simple, they want to introduce a shatteringly-crispy Har Cheong Gai that you will never forget. 

The Shrimp Paste Cutlet ($7.00) is a must try. The XXL Shrimp Paste Cutlet consists of 2 pieces of Chicken Cutlet serving with shaker fries and salad. They marinated those chicken pieces in the har cheong gai paste for 2 days and coated in their specially made batter before deep-frying. How they managed in resulting such a crispy crust has remained to be their secret. The unparalleled crispy skin and the deep satisfaction when you crunch down on those chicken cutlets was just so unforgettable. 


They do also have Okonomiyaki ($8.50) on their menu. The Okonomiyaki is not commonly found in Singapore and I was glad that they served it too. It is grilled Japanese pancakes embedded with prawn and bacon then topped with bonito flakes and oko sauce. There is an option to add Tobiko (flying roe) and oozing torched cheese for $1.50. It was nice though not particularly memorable. I would rather skip this and go for the Har Cheong Gai.



MIDAS EVERY TOUCH IS GOLD
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays & Thursdays)

Sax Choa, the owner, named its stall after King Midas in Greek mythology which possessed a special power to turn everything that he touches into gold. He used to be an Operations Director with more than 25 years of experience in the Food & Beverage and hospitality industries. He wanted to recreate and share the curry experience when he started this stall at Jalan Kukoh Food Centre before moving to Yishun Park Hawker Centre.

There are Baked Croissant Murtabak Sardine Puff ($3.00) and Corn Beef Puff ($4.00). I tried the sardine but did not like it as much after I took my first bite, the filling consists of bits of sardine with too many corns and peas. 


I was there again on 26 September 2017 for dinner and this was one of those stalls with no queue at that time. I decided to go with the Set B on the menu, which is Master Touch Chicken Curry ($5.00) to go with a plain prata ($1.00) and a spring onion prata ($1.50). The prata is different, it is not pan-fried but baked in an oven with right temperature controls. This is the healthier version as it is less greasy but crispier and flakier in texture. The plain prata and the spring onion prata tasted quite alike.

The curry is different from the usual Chinese-style curry, it is thicker and creamery with a strong hint of spices, a little closer to the Indian-style curry. Mustard Seed is one of the ingredients added to make it tastes differently. The level of spiciness is well-balanced, it is good even for my dining companion that has little tolerance towards spiciness. It consists of chicken chunks, potato, and a hard-boiled egg. 



FISHBALL STORY
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 10.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Their first stall was at Golden Mile Food Centre started by Douglas Ng in April 2015. This stall was closed later when a new one was opened at the University Town in National University of Singapore (NUS) and expanded to another stall at Timbre+ in Ayer Rajah Crescent. After he closed the stall at NUS, he went into partnership with Char Grill Bar and 818 Seafood, they bought a coffee shop in Geylang and named it Hungry Bee, he started another stall there. This newest stall is at the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre is their first franchised stall.


A basic bowl is priced at $3.50 and the Premium Fishball Noodle is at $6.50. The Premium Fishball Noodle consists of a good portion of nicely cooked mee pok tossed with sambal chili and lard bits, with 3 pieces of handmade fishballs and a few slices of their handmade fishcake with 2 pieces of fried fish skin and a piece of fried beancurd with stuffed fish paste. Those fishballs are made from using pure yellowtail fish and no flour is added when making at the central kitchen, its texture is firmer and springier as compared to most of the others.

It was still good but somehow, it did not taste as good as my first time tasted it, something is just missing somewhat and it just did not taste quite the same. I felt the additional fried fish skin did not actually go too well with the noodle. It got me to wonder the likely reason for doing so is to justify for setting a higher pricing. 



JJ PRAWN NOODLES
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Pang Che Chyi and Maggie Bhet, his wife, started this stall serving prawn noodles, in dry and soup version, together with braised pork tails and soft bones. They first started it at Beo Crescent Food Centre and is still having a stall there. Che Chyi used to work in the kitchen of Crystal Jade, a Cantonese restaurant for more than a decade. Their current recipes are the result of experimenting with different recipes and cooking techniques as well as ate their way through countless bowls of prawn noodles across Singapore. The broth is made with fresh sea prawns, pork bones, dried prawns, and herbs for a rich and complex flavor. They are trying to recapture the flavor of the yesteryear that Singapore adored. 


I ordered the smaller portion of Pork Ribs Big Prawns Noodle for $5.00, the larger portion is at $6.00. It consists of a good portion of yellow noodles with 2 medium-sized prawns and a few small pieces of pork ribs, garnished with fried shallots before serving. The prawns tasted relatively fresh, they actually made an effort to devein the prawns and removed the shell of the center part, leaving the tail and head on. The level of spiciness of the chili is not to be underestimated but it added flavor to the noodles.



XIN LONG XIANG
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm

Ting Boon Kai, 40 and Keng Pei Sieh, 40, set up this Cze Cha brand about 3 years ago, both of them are childhood friends. They are originally from Sitiawan, Perak and they have been working in Singapore for a long while. There are a total of 4 outlets, located at Jalan Sultan, Hoe Chiang Road, East Coast Lagoon Food Village and Yishun Park Hawker Centre. 


Their menu consists of 40 dishes including signature dishes like white bee hoon, chilli crabmeat seafood horfun and chilli crayfish horfun which I ordered. The pricing is seasonal thus it is better to ask before ordering and the minimum order has to be at least 2 pieces of crayfish, the price at that time was $14.00.

They are likely to be the first in Singapore to serve Chilli Crayfish Horfun, the combination of 2 favorite dishes that most Singaporean loved. The Crayfish Horfun was served with the chilli crab sauce. The wok flavor was not too distinctive, the sauce was too light and kind of diluted.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

En Ji Traditional Wanton Noodles at Yishun Park Hawker Centre

This was one of the stalls that were opened on a Monday, most of the stalls were closed though so left with limited choices. There is no queue but just another customer right in front of me during lunch.

I asked, "Do you have Kway Teow?". The bespectacled young chap that was taking the order replied, "We do". I decided to go with Wanton Kway Teow ($3.00) with a bowl of Dumpling Soup ($2.80). He asked, "Do you want the wantons to be placed in the soup with the dumplings?" and he also asked, "Do you want to use a tray?" I nodded. The deposit of the tray has been reduced from $1.00 to 0.50 cents in this food centre. 


The Wanton Kway Teow came with 5 pieces of average-sized wantons. The texture of Kway Teow was a bit too mushy to my liking. I should just stick with Mee Kia or Mee Pok next time. Though requested for an extra amount of chili to be added, its spiciness was not too distinctive. The thinly sliced char siew was slightly too dry as well. 


The wantons were quite tasty, the well-seasoned minced meat was nicely wrapped and cooked in the lightly flavored soup. The Dumpling Soup came with 4 pieces of dumplings, the filling consists of minced meat and prawn and is as tasty as the wanton. 



EN JI TRADITIONAL WANTON NOODLES
51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-17 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sin Sin Ngor Hiang Prawn Cracker at Sembawabg Hill Food Centre

This is one of the recommended stalls when I asked for a recommendation from the sisters that run a noodle stall in the same food centre. The younger sister suggested I should try the Ngor Hiang from this stall. It was usually closed when I was there for early lunch and so, it was only when I happened to go for a late lunch there then I got to try it. The stall is operated by an elderly couple and they were getting ready and about to start at 1.30 pm. 


Most of the items are handmade, other than the usual items, there are also some of the unique ones that are not likely to be found at the other stalls. One of them is their prawn fritter, it is slightly thicker as there is a piece of the boiled egg right in it. This is an interesting item that is worth trying. The regular items like Ngor Hiang, Prawn Roll, Prawn Cracker are quite tasty too that went well with the accompanying dipping sauce.

Their fried bee hoon is a must-order, it is one of the nicest that I ever had. Though it is a simple dish, they did it well, it was mildly seasoned with light soya sauce and with a handful of beansprouts that added for a textural contrast. 


SIN SIN NGOR HIANG PRAWN CRACKER
590 Upper Thomson Road #01-21 Sembawang Hill Food Centre SINGAPORE 574419
Operating Hours: 1.30 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Masses, Singapore : Good food at affordable prices

Dylan Ong, the co-founder of Saveur, parted with Joseph Khoo, the other co-founder and started The Masses, Joseph Khoo started Taste Affair, a hawker stall at Amoy Street Food Centre. The Masses is a 35-seater restaurant along Beach Road, directly opposite the Shaw Tower. The menu consists of starters, main courses, and desserts, as well as a selection of beverages like coffee, beer, sake, wine, and cocktail. Most of these items are priced below $20 and their menu is somewhat similar to the Saveur's with a certain French and Japanese influence. They do serve lunch sets on the weekdays, excluding public holidays, from 12 pm to 4 pm.

Dylan insists on using fresh, seasonal produce that allowed the recipes to be kept simple yet dynamic and at the same time, staying true to the ingredients through using the contemporary cooking technique to bring out the best of it. Fundamentally, it is about serving good food at affordable prices which truly defined what is "Contemporary Happy Food".

I was there with a friend to celebrate my birthday and we ordered 2 lunch sets of their Fancy set. The choices for starter features The Egg, C & C Pasta and Chargrilled Avocado and we opted for The Egg and C & C Pasta. As for the main courses, we wanted Duroc Pork Belly and Angus 200-days Grain Fed Striploin (180g), the other option is Pan-seared Barramundi. The drink choices include Chamomile, Earl Grey Lavender, Lemon Gingermint Tea and also Long Black or topped up $1 for Iced Long Black, Cappuccino, Flat White, Latte and added $2 for the iced version. You could also choose Orange or Apple Juice, Coke, Coke Light or Sprite.


The Egg, the starter, is actually chawanmushi serving with slices of ultra-thin homemade potato chips together with ikura (salmon roe) and tobiko (flying fish roe) with beurre noisette (brown butter). It is supposed to come in either hot or cold but apparently, there is no option given when placing the order. The photo chips turned soggy pretty fast. The combination is captivating though with an equally interesting taste to match. 


Another starter is C & C Pasta, the C & C stands for Crab & Caviar, it consists of angel hair pasta and served chill with chunks of crabmeat in lobster bisque then topped with caviar before serving. This is amongst one of the highly recommended dishes to try here. It somewhat reminded me of the Saveur's Pasta but instead of serving with Sakura ebi and chili oil, it is with crab meat in thick lobster sauce and black caviar.


Angus 200-days Grain Fed Striploin (180g) came first, it was lightly seasoned and seared to a slightly charred surface with a beautiful pink within as well as a distinctive flavor. It was served along with a portion of smashed potatoes and garden salad with mustard sauce by the side. 



I truly enjoyed the Duroc Pork Belly, its richness and juicy loveliness were just unforgettable as it was such an amazing textural experience. It has a thin crispy layer on top that was amazingly crackly when you bite down into it and there was also nice layers of fat in between, a perfect combination of textures. It served on a pile of truffle mashed potato and topped with a portion of pan-seared vegetables. 




It was a pleasant lunch experience and quite unintentionally, this reminded me of Saveur in their starting phase when they aimed to serve good food at affordable prices to the masses.


THE MASSES, SINGAPORE
85 Beach Road #01-02 SINGAPORE 189694
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 9.30 pm (Monday, Tuesday Thursday & Sunday)
12.00 pm to 12.00 am (Wednesday, Friday & Saturday)