Masse doesn't have many reviews on Bon App, but they're almost all very, very strongly positive, so I had high hopes going into this meal.
I was in the mood for Thai and that's what it was listed as on Bon App, so it was a bit of a surprise to see a combination of Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai and other Southeast Asian dishes on the menu. As a general rule, I have had bad luck with generic "Southeast Asian Cuisine" restaurants in Shanghai (see my previous review for Spiceee) so this was an immediate damper on my dining expectations, but we forged onward, hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Alas, that was not the case. Masse managed to perfectly fulfill my expectations for a restaurant that claims to serve food from all of Southeast Asia - Jacks of all trades are masters of none.
Pani puri - This classic Indian street food dish was crispy, fun to assemble and attractive on the plate, but that's all I can say for good things. I found the potato mixture inside the crisp very bland and the only way to eat it was by piling on the side condiments. These consisted of a green chutney (cilantro and mint I think) and a papaya gel, which were nice enough on their own, but shouldn't be required to make a dish edible.
Bamboo shoot prawn salad - This one was supposed to be Vietnamese I think. I'd never had it before, so I can't comment on the authenticity. The flavor of the bamboo shoots in the slightly acidic dressing was pleasant enough, and the prawns were well cooked. It was a basically okay dish, but nothing really special in the flavor department.
Satay chicken skewers - Malaysia in the house. So incredibly dry and overcooked as to be inedible, with no flavor on the chicken meat itself. The satay sauce might have saved it, but I found it to be too sweet, lacking in peanut flavor, and just not very tasty.
Roasted pork neck - The only truly good dish of the night, courtesy of Thailand. The pork was tender, juicy and crispy on the outside and served with a rich fermented soy-based sauce that had the perfect blend of sweet and savory.
Laksa - Malaysia/Singapore. The prawns were overcooked and rubbery, the noodles were congealed into one giant mass in the bottom of the bowl, and the broth was just...ok. I'm not enough of an expert on Laksa to determine what the broth needed exactly, but it simply didn't compare to previous laksas in town that I've really enjoyed (see previous review for PS Cafe)
Pad thai - Thailand, obviously. Utterly bizarre take on this classic street food that had no lime, no prawns, almost no sauce, tough bits of chicken, the tiniest sprinkle of peanuts, and was absurdly sweet to boot. We didn't even eat half of it. Along with the satay skewers, a lowlight of the night.
The drinks were good, and perhaps that's why this place enjoys good reviews online - most people are going for just drinks. My ginger/lychee cocktail was delicious (sorry I can't recall the name) and the fresh lychees as garnish were great.
Damage was just shy of 450 RMB for 3 people, which is about par for the course on Thai food (or other types of SEA food) in Shanghai, but it definitely didn't match up flavorwise. I'd consider going back for drinks, but not for food.
Located in the back corner of Tonglefang, right beside the line 7 Changping Road Subway station, lies Masse Gastro Lounge, a quaint Southeast Asian restaurant with a laid back vibe and a great playlist of 2000’s American R&B music. I swung by with a colleague for lunch and found the place relatively empty with only one other table and one server. Service was swift and soon enough, our pani puri, salted egg yolk fried chicken wings, Malay shrimp paste spinach, and chicken pad thai were on the table. I came here for the pani puri snack(an Indian street food that was a bit of an oddity on the menu), a hollow round fried dough crust with potato bean paste and chili sauce. The potato bean paste was great, although the spices weren’t nearly as spunky as that of the pani puris you find in South Asia. Next came their star dish, the salted egg yolk fried chicken wings and that certainly did not disappoint as the salted egg covering melts in your mouth in a perfect blend of creamy delight. The chicken pad thai and the Malay shrimp paste spinach are pretty much what you would expect at any Thai joint but are good nonetheless. Last but not least, I ordered the coconut ice cream for dessert. The portions were larger than expected, and even though it was freezing cold outside, I enjoyed every bit of the coconut goodness. Overall, I’d give this place a 5 stars for it’s chill vibe and 4.5 stars for its food. I am definitely coming back for the salted egg yolk chicken wings, which were simply the best I’ve ever had. Our meal came out to be around 205 RMB for 2 people.
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