Shashlik: Just As Good As The Yesteryears
When it was announced that Shashlik would close its doors for good, most of us felt that it would be a waste to let a long established restaurant “disappear” from the dining scene of Singapore. The local press also reported that before its closure, many loyal customers flocked to the restaurant to have their “last meal”.
Fortunately, the two sons of the late Captain and Head Waiter, Mr Tan Niap Hin, decided to reopen Shashlik promising to uphold the legacy of the previous owners. They have assured that many of the popular dishes would be retained.
When Shashlik announced its reopening recently, I went there for lunch to check it out. The interior looked pretty similar except for some areas that were spruced up, and I was surprised that it was packed on a Sunday. From the chatter of the diners, it was obvious that many were faithful regulars who were certainly glad to be back.
It is easy to navigate through the choices in the menu. Although the Egg Millionaire is a starter many have raved about, I decided to give it a miss and opted for the Escargots à la Bourguignonne instead. The escargots were sautéed in savoury homemade parsley garlic butter and toasted till fragrant. Thankfully, the dish came piping hot and the rich aromatic garlic butter made this starter a winner. I even asked for extra bread to soak up the garlic butter.
For the rest of the main courses, I ordered all the signature dishes. The oxtail stew, which Shaslik is famous for, is available only on Wednesday (lunch), Saturday and Sunday. Surprisingly, the oxtail was fork tender and from the robust taste of the gravy, it must have been stewed for a long time.
The Chicken a la Kiev was rather disappointing. The chicken was stuffed with parsley garlic butter and fried till golden brown. It looked like a big sausage roll, but was lacking in taste. In fact, without any gravy, the meat was a little too dry.
Shashlik is also famous for its meat on skewers, and the Shashlik of beef was infused with a house-specialty marinade for 24 hours, served on a sizzling hot plate. Although the outside of the meat was a little charred, the meat was juicy. The beef was brought to the table in a trolley which is unique to Shashlik.
For seafood, the Fish en Papillotte is also a popular dish. The fish was marinated in a tomato-based sauce, wrapped in paper and baked to juicy perfection. The flesh was extremely soft and the sauce lent a tangy taste to the overall flavour.
The Baked Alaska was elegantly prepared as the waiter torched the dark rum, setting it in flames. On the outside, the meringue gave a crispy bite, and once you cut it open, the combination of the vanilla ice cream and sponge cake was delicious. It did end the meal on a satisfying note.
When the restaurant is crowded, expect the service to be a little slow, but many of the serving staff are long standing employees—and they went about their work without missing a beat like never ever changed.
#06-19 Far East Shopping Centre
54 Orchard Road
Tuesdays to Sundays (Closed on Mondays)
Lunch: 12 pm to 2.15 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm to 9.15 pm