Photos by Chong Yap of Make Your Calories Count
From Korean Fried Chicken to Patbingsu, it is almost impossible to run out of ideas in the F&B scene in Singapore as we consistently witness new trends emerging. While I am typically not a person who chase after trends, it is always good to stay in the know as dining concepts seem to evolve quicker than technology - before you realise it, it is already entering the obsolete phase.
For those who love their stews, rejoice as Masizzim is the latest opening at 313 Somerset. With a name that interprets delicious (masi) and stew (jjim), you know you are in good hands with their hearty pots of meat.
No, you do not get served rice balls but you are supposed to do-it-yourself! Served in a large bowl, the medium-grain white rice comes with Korean black rice, barley, seaweed crumbs and crushed chilli padi. Upon service, you are supposed to put on the disposable gloves, mix the ingredients well and mould them into rice balls!
A bowl can typically make into about five golf-sized rice balls (slightly larger than these shown) but we were told that a good benchmark to mould your rice balls is to make it into a bite-size so you can pop it in one mouth!
This is a popular snack in Korea and apparently its origin came about when Koreans used leftover rice and ingredients and made them into rice balls for travel food or lunchbox additions. This was more on providing basic sustenance food rather than creating something fanciful but it is fast becoming talk of the town now!
Personally I preferred the anchovy version where the crispy anchovies juxtaposed the al dente grains, resulting a delightful crunch with each mouthful. You would then be hit by an unexpected heat from the crushed chilli padi which are innocently hidden - well, literally speaking, you would have massaged it in yourself!
The tuna version saw a fair share of fans at the table as the slightly damp rice balls were robust in flavours due to the tuna mayonnaise striking a good balance with the fried kimchi. While the variation in textures from the anchovy rice ball struck a chord with me, the tuna rice ball was equally impressive.
The Australian beef short ribs was cooked beautifully, first with a pressure cooking for 40 minutes before being simmered for six hours for the protein to be broken down. The flavours were intense and robust to say the least, with the meat falling off the bone tender. That rich brown gravy contained all the essence of the beef and was nicely absorbed by the Korean rice cakes that come with it.
For the beef and pork stews, you have a choice of either soy or spicy (up to four levels of heat) flavours. It also comes with noodles with an option of Korean udon or glass noodles - my personal preference was the glass noodles which was thinner and flat, thereby absorbing the sauces better than the udon.
While we had the individual portion, you can have the double portion at just S$32/++, definitely enough to feed two to three pax.
With the beef stew being my favourite, the second ranked pot would have to be the spicy chicken stew that comprised assorted parts marinated overnight for the flavours to be fully imparted. While the chicken pieces were also succulent, it was slightly shy of the perfection that the beef counterpart displayed. Nonetheless a very good and appetising rendition for those who love their spicy food!
Both the pork rib and chicken stews also come in double portions at S$29/++. While we enjoyed the depth in flavours of the soy-based chicken stew, it came across slightly dull compared to the spicy chicken and the more robust beef rib stews. I also found the meat less tender compared to the beef which might have been due to the longer cooking time for the latter.
Almost pizza-like, the tomato-based pancake comprised kimchi and minced beef topped with mozzarella and chopped basil. It was almost a fusion dish between the Italians and the Koreans but the flavours were spot-on, not forgetting the lovely crisp ends. The melting mozzarella added depth and intensity to the dish while balancing the alkalinity from the kimchi.
A must-try dish for carb-lovers, I enjoyed the crispy-chewy pancake that was stuffed with potato and served with the house-blended dipping sauce that would add flavours to the dish. The potato pancake standalone was done beautifully for its textures but I would recommend that sauce for the flavours that would complement - slightly acidity and heat.
The dish was well-executed and for those who have tried cooking squid would agree that getting the cooking time right is critical. This was tender and nothing of that rubbery texture with nice crisp edges and fragrance from the leeks. Go ahead and dip it in the same blended sauce for added flavours to make this a perfect side dish. All that is lacking is a pint of beer! For this pancake and the potato, I found that the sauce is a critical component to enhance flavours else it would have been relatively pale on its own.
For some of the spicy dishes, do go for their signature Sikhye Jar at S$9.50/++ to help quench thirst and the heat. It is a traditional Korean beverage brewed in-house from malt barley and rice.
While Massizzim may be new to the F&B scene, the owners are not. Many would be more familiar with their other brand, Chir Chir just next door who specialises in Korean Fried Chicken. Spotting a similar casual dining experience with a minimalist interior design such as their textured grey walls, dark wood tables and concrete flooring. Do not forget to watch out for K-pop favourites playing on the wall-hung TV sets and to save you the hassle of calling for attention, there is a service buzzer on each table!
Overall, it was a good experience and despite their recent opening on 24 Sep 2015, the team seems very well-oiled in operations as service was very smooth not just for our tables but also those beside.
Overall Verdict: 7.5/10
#B3-02, 313 Somerset
313 Orchard Road
Tel: (65) 6509 5808