Masthai was a family favourite, as we visited practically fortnightly. Another plus was that we had a family friend who worked there (perks of having connections!). However, Masthai went under new management mid-2013 - rumour has it that the chefs from a restaurant couple shops down the street bought the business, attracted by the popularity of Masthai (it never did ads, and for an Asian restaurant, that is GREAT!)
When we visited, interiors were all the same - pictures, decor etc. were all the same. Only difference was that they repainted the walls white (or that's all I can recall from memory...)
It wasn't a weekend, but it was pretty full, with some walk-in customers having to wait at least an hour or two.
As we sat down we were quickly given Chinese tea and a pot/large bowl of soup - typical service of Asian restaurants. The waiter/waitresses kept rushing around the loud restaurant, as if there was a huge hurry...however, service was quite slow (we would tell a waiter/waitress to get something/order something and it would never be done....) Enough of plain words, time for some foodie pics~
My family tends to have a few dishes we order to test out a new restaurant - one of them being deep fried pigeon. I know a billion of you guys are now going to give me that EWWWW....PIGEON??!! look, but let me tell you, if done properly it is so good. The pigeon here was alright, a bit to the dry side....The meat juices that are meant to come every bite was rather minimal, but they partially made up for that with the sizing. It think it was $18.80 for one? They tend to range from $16.80 to $24.80..so this one is mid-range. I personally prefer the Hurstville Chinese Restaurant (I think it's called?) - located on the corner of Forest Rd and Park Rd.
When we want seafood, we usually go for a crab pot - literally translates to Golden Sand Mud Crab Pot - priced at market price ($$/kg). If you have good luck, you will get moist vermicelli, well seasoned mud crab with loads of crab roe(?) (the orange thing in the shell) This one got an average 6/10 I'd say...The flavour was really good, but the vermicelli was a tad dry. Another downside was the lack of deep-frying of the crab. In order to lock in the flavour of the crab, I think deep-frying the crab is vital...but they missed this step.
We don't usually order this - but we decided to go for the Deep-fried Garlic Ribs....(sorry but forgot the price...) This one was pretty good at first taste, but you gradually get the aftertaste of old oil...Usually, when restaurants use old oil, it's obvious in both sight and taste. So....I guess the oil was old but not THAT old....
We needed vegetables, and they didn't have the type I like, so we settled for XO Stirfried Snow Peas with Fish (forgot which one) Fillets (approx $20)...This one was GOOOOD!!! In Chinese food, the umami (the 'delicious' taste that the general tastes can't describe)mainly comes from the 鍋氣(aka wok air....)! And this dish was LOADED in umami~ However, the XO taste might be a bit strong for some people - as I had to wash it down regularly with water and tea.
Desserts at Chinese restaurant usually comprises of seasonal fruits and a bowl of Chinese/Asian dessert 'soup' (aka 糖水..translating to sugar water) Generally they serve red bean soup, mung bean soup with glutinous rice balls with sesame/peanut filling. However, I was surprised with a sweet concoction of apple and pear... Different, from the norm, but not my style to be honest....
Overall the meal was average, but the fall from really good to average was pretty far...I currently don't have any strong urge to revisit...So unless I get a strong recommendation from some excellent foodie...I'll put this restaurant on hold.