Went to Shashlik for dinner the other day. It is a restaurant hidden on the sixth floor of Far East Shopping Centre (not to be confused with Far East Plaza). It supposedly serves Russian food. But as far as one can tell, none of the people working there are from Russia!
Shashlik was in the news not too long ago because most of the key employees are old and they cannot find anyone suitable to hand over their business too. So… being Singaporean, we felt that we MUST go and try the place before it closes down.
The place opens at 6pm. We got there at 5:30pm and there were a few people waiting outside. The doors of the place was closed. There was no place comfortable to sit and wait outside the restaurant, so we decided to go walk around and go back when the place is open.
That was a big mistake. We got back to the restaurant at 6:15pm. And was greeted by this:
We thought, never mind. Queue only what. Not as if we never queue before. For whatever reasons, the queue moved REALLY slowly. It took us about an hour and a half before we got a table.
We looked at the menu and quickly ordered our food. We were famished! That is when we found out why the queue moved so slowly. The waitress told us that it would take about 30 minutes for our food to be served. I wonder whether that is due to shortage of workers in the kitchen or whether it really takes so long for the food to be prepared.
In the mean time, we were given garlic toast. It was just normal bread that was toasted and had garlic butter spread over it. Which was surprising because I read that they had free flow of buns.
In any case, the first thing we ordered finally came.
The dish is called Egg Millionaire. It was served in egg shells expertly cut in half to become bowls. How one goes about slicing egg shells so nicely is beyond me. The bits of hard-boiled egg and the bacon with cream gave the whole dish a very interesting texture. Taste wise, SL described it as tasting like a funkier version of creamy salted-egg. Personally, if it was just a bit less salty, this would have been a really great dish.
Then came the Borsch.
It doesn’t look like much (my lack of photography skills not helping…), but it was a great dish! It had cabbage, potatoes, beef and sour cream in a tomato soup base. Fantastic comfort food. The beef was tender and juicy. The tangy taste of the soup really whetted our appetite for more food!
While we waited for our main (we only ordered one, the shashlik of beef), we noticed some waiters bringing around the buns! So we asked for some.
The buns afforded such simple pleasures. It was warm, light and fluffy. When you chew on it for a while, it becomes nice and chewy, with a slightly sweet taste that complemented very well with the saltiness of the butter.
And finally the shashlik of beef came.
The dish was served table-side. The waiter brought the skewer of meat to your table, then pushed the meat off the skewer onto the hotplate. The dish had some cucumbers, pickled cabbage and tomatoes. We asked for medium rare. Which was just nice. The meat was tender and juicy. It was marinated lightly which really supported the original taste of the meat quite well.
We had wanted some dessert. We heard that the baked alaska is one of the signature desserts of Shashlik. But when we wanted to order it, we were told that unless you are part of the first batch of people seated at 6pm, you won’t be able to get it. I suppose it is so popular that the first batch of people have ordered all the baked alaska that they had for the day…
In any case, we decided to skip dessert and had the Irish coffee instead. What was interesting about the Irish coffee was that they prepared it right next to your table.
We aren’t connoisseurs of Irish coffees so we aren’t in a position to say whether it was good Irish coffee, but it was really quite fun to watch it prepared.
It was pretty much the same for quite a lot of desserts too. There were a few tables around us who ordered different desserts and many of them were prepared table-side, and also involved flaming the alcohol.
And that kind of sums up dining at Shashlik. Interesting experience. Big spacious venue, rustic decor. With dishes served and prepared table-side. It wasn’t just a feast for the taste and stomach, but also enjoying a performance of sort.
Barring someone willing to take over the restaurant, it will be ending operations at the end of this year. So, if you want to experience the restaurant and have some quite decent food too, better go soon!