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Masalaa Bar

  • Restaurants
  • Bedok
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Masalaa Bar
    Photograph: Dawson Tan
  2. Masalaa Bar
    Photograph: Dawson Tan

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

India’s notoriously known to begin their dinners only after 8pm and that is already a modest estimate, especially in the North. In certain parts of India, there are even some khau gallis – street food strips, if you may – that still operate well after midnight. Likewise, at Masalaa Bar, the party doesn’t start until sundown when it drums up a buzzy affair that attracts East Coast residents to even hordes of Indian expats across Singapore.

The mastermind behind the funky dining concept is chef Milind Sovani. If that name rang a bell, it is because he’s none other than the brainchild who first conceptualised The Song of India, a one-Michelin-starred Indian fine-dining restaurant that used to be along tranquil Scotts Road. Now, he brings an eclectic range of unpretentious elevated street food – leaning towards regions like Mumbai, New Delhi, and Maharashtra.

We first arrived at prime dinner hours when most tables were already filled with a plethora of dishes presented in quirky crockery and traditional copperware. There were people boisterously toasting with drinks in hand. Then there were happy faces with sheepish smiles stuffing themselves silly. It was proper chaotic and to us, a telltale sign of what was to come.

An affable waitress recommended starting with the Monster Papad ($10) – which is literally the size of a wok. What is a crisp lentil-based flatbread bejewelled with an appetising toss-up of sharp red onions, juicy tomatoes, unassumingly fiery green chillies, coriander, and a spiced powder mix, had us going back for countless seconds.

From the tandoor, the Zafrani Murg Malai Tikki ($18) arrived in the form of succulent chicken thigh meat sporting a beautiful coat of smoke and char. The yoghurt based marinate is liberally seasoned with aromatic herbs – think saffron strands, garlic, ginger, cumin and pepper – that came through in every creamy earthy bite.

Next up on the flavour scales was the moreish Nehari Ghosht Korma ($22). It is a Persian-inspired Mughlai winter delicacy where lamb shank is slow-cooked in its own marrow and juices together with a masala spice mix till it is fall-off-the-bone tender. The rich gravy – typically flavoured with cardamom, cloves, cumin, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seed and black pepper – delivers an explosive punch that slowly extinguishes into a warm and comforting spice. But the icing on the cake was undoubtedly finding residual marrows in the broken crevasses of the shank bone.

At the bar, the facade is dominated by whiskey bottles that sit shoulder-to-shoulder with a diverse range of liquor and spirits. But it is the quirky Indian-inspired cocktails that stood out on the menu featuring ingredients such as saffron, tamarind, and chilli to build complimenting tipples that refresh the palate. On the floor, the vibe check on the team is split between poker-faced individuals and enthusiastic ones. We consider ourselves fortunate enough to have experienced more of the latter who was infinitely patient and gave sound recommendations.

Ultimately, it made our lip-smacking evening one to remember. Still on the fence? Here's a little nudge – we're already looking forward to our next visit.

Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.

What the stars mean:
★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional 

Dawson Tan
Written by
Dawson Tan


723 East Coast Rd
Opening hours:
Daily 11.30am-10.30pm
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