Alati Tasting Session

January 19, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Alati Tasting Session
73 Amoy Street

Opening Hours:
Mon - Fri: 12pm - 2pm (Lunch), 6pm - 10pm (Dinner)
Sat & Public Holidays: 6pm - 10pm (Dinner)
Closed Sun



http://www.alati.sg/

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session.
Attended with representatives from HungryGoWhere, Epicurious Caniggia, Purple Taste, and The Arctic Star.



Fyllo-Wrapped Feta (SGD $15)



Tasty, Authentic Greek Cuisine, Fine Dining Experience

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 9
Value for Money: 7
Budget about SGD $70 ++ per person.


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Named after the Greek word for 'salt', Alati restaurant in 73 Amoy Street is a casual, comfortable place, serving tasty and authentic Greek food. Founded in September 2015, General Manager Mr. Leong Khai Git overseas the front of house, with Head Chef Mr. Sotsous Dimitrios, a native of Athens, in the Attica region of Greece, heading up the kitchen. Alati is known for their fresh fish and seafood, imported thrice weekly from fishermen of the Aegean Sea, and their extensive variety of handpicked Greek wines from vineyards in the Nemea mountains.

Alati Signage


Alati Exterior


Alati Interior



Ambience at Alati restaurant is designed to resemble the most iconic region of Greece; the island of Santorini. Think whitewashed walls, curved lines, and a bright, vibrant shade of blue, with nautical themed decor that calls to mind sea and sky, all set within a spacious, open area. Wooden furniture in white and blue, stacked with comfortable cushions and in a variety of shapes and sizes, line the place, cleverly designed to fit nicely. Absolutely love the design and ambience here! However, several booth seats have table legs which jut out, making movement in and out of the booth seats difficult, I felt like I was performing acrobatics when moving!

Waiting Area


Rectangle Booth Seating & Bar Seating


Triangle Booth Seating


Square Table Seating


Round Table Seating



Service at Alati restaurant is befitting a fine dining establishment. Staff are friendly and welcoming, providing attentive service which feels personalised, almost as if they were only serving your table. Decent product knowledge, they're able to describe the various Greek dishes, which may be unfamiliar to most Singaporeans. Staff also pour samples of wine for tasting and approval, before serving the whole bottle. They check for feedback on the meal, and ask if they can clear away empty / dirty main plates when diners are finished, along with offering a change of dining plates as well. Very good service! However, waiting time for food is longer than elsewhere, as it's prepared to order, expect a wait of about 10 minutes or so for appetizers and desserts, and 20 minutes or so for a main course.

Bottled Colours


Lamps



Food at Alati restaurant is traditional, authentic Greek, with a focus on fresh vegetables, cheese, fish, and seafood. The menu is small, with most dishes likely unfamiliar to the average Singaporean, despite being everyday Greek food. General Manager Mr. Leong Khai Git says that he wishes to introduce Singaporeans to the tastes inherent in Greek culture; an up-hill climb, as Alati is only 1 of 2 Greek restaurants in Singapore. Head Chef Mr. Sotsous Dimitrios brings over 17 years of culinary experience, working with recipes gleaned from his heritage in Athens, in the Attica region of Greece. Generally, I find food here to be fresh and clean tasting, with a focus on 1 or 2 ingredients on the plate, whose tastes shine through. Portions are communal sized, meant for sharing, usually between 2 - 4 people, but they also have individual set meals at lunch. Prices befit a fine dining restaurant, being reasonable for the high quality you receive, budget about SGD $70 per person for a full dinner with drinks, or about SGD $30 per person for a simple meal.

Briki (Greek Coffee Pot)



The complimentary Horiatiko Psomi (Greek Crusty Country Bread) is a rural, countryside style bread that is dense in texture and has a thick, extremely crispy crust, normally used to soak up sauces or dressings. The version here, while still served with a Dipping Sauce Plate - Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt, Sun-Dried Tomato, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, is much lighter and softer in texture, which I think will appeal to more Singaporeans. It does still retain a crispy crust, which cracks beautifully!

Horiatiko Psomi (Greek Crusty Country Bread)


Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Red Wine Vinegar


Dipping Sauce Plate - Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt, Sun-Dried Tomato, Extra Virgin Olive Oil



The Amethystos Kostas Lazaridas (SGD $78 Bottle) is a Greek white wine, made with a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc grapes and 15% Assyrtiko grapes. It has a refreshing fruity aroma of peach, pineapple, and citrus, with a sweet, medium, juicy body, a vibrant aciditiy, and a long, grassy finish with low bitterness. A lovely, harmonious taste, best paired with seafood, fish, or salads.

Amethystos Kostas Lazaridas (SGD $78 Bottle)



The Tsantalis Kanenas (SGD $80 Bottle) is a Greek red wine, made with a blend of Shiraz grapes and Mavroudi grapes. It has a rich fruity aroma of wild berries and ripe dark cherries, with a sweet, full, smooth body, a lively acidity, and a spicy, earthy finish with low bitterness. A complex, robust taste, best paired with meats, heavy sauces, or grilled items.

The legend behind the naming of this wine, pronounced 'ka-ne-nas', is worth telling. In Greek mythology, the hero Odysseus is captured by a one-eyed, giant monster cyclops, named Polyphemus. Cunning Odysseus offered Polyphemus wine, pleasing the monster, who then asked for his name. Odysseus replied, "kanenas", which means 'no one' in Greek. Of course, as Singaporeans, we had a good time sniggering about the Hokkien pronounciation of this wine!

Tsantalis Kanenas (SGD $80 Bottle)



The Mastiha Skinos (SGD $10 Shot / $150 Bottle) is a type of Greek digestif liqueur known as Mastiha / Mastika, which is a liqueur seasoned with mastic. Mastic is a resin gathered from the mastic tree, a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region, and its name means 'to chew'. It is a sweet and spicy beverage, often served with desserts, or used in the making of desserts. Mastiha / Mastika is usually clear, and tastes like a mix of pine nuts, star anise, liquorice, and honey.

Mastiha Skinos (SGD $10 Shot / $150 Bottle)



Loved how fresh and healthy the Horiatiki Salata / Greek Salad (SGD $22) is! Made according to the traditional Greek receipe, which must include only tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers (capsicums), whole olives, capers, salt, oregano herbs, and topped with a large block of feta cheese, drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. The combination of tastes; sweet, sour, salty, sharp, and textures; crunchy, soft, juicy, firm; just excellent! So good I went for 2 helpings. Highly recommended!

Horiatiki Salata / Greek Salad (SGD $22)


Horiatiki Salata / Greek Salad



What Turkish cuisine calls Dolma, Greek cuisine calls Dolmadakia / Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves (SGD $19). Essentially the same, this meat-less appetizer consists of cooked rice and pine nuts, stuffed within vine leaves, and rolled into a cylindrical shape. The version here is decent, though not the best I've had, being rather loosely packed and small in size. It has an earthy, sour, nutty taste, with a chewy, crunchy texture.

Dolmadakia / Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves (SGD $19)


Dolmadakia / Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves


Dolmadakia / Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves



Felt the Fyllo-Wrapped Feta (SGD $15) was possibly the best appetizer I tried here! This classic baked Greek starter features a large block of crumbly, nutty feta cheese, wrapped in thin, crisp phyllo pastry, drizzled with sweet Greek honey, and garnished with fragrant sesame seeds. Almost like a dessert, this was sweet, fragrant, nutty, crisp, and chewy. The size makes it difficult to finish individually, so this is best shared! Highly recommended!

Fyllo-Wrapped Feta (SGD $15)


Fyllo-Wrapped Feta



Similar to the cuisine of other cultures in the region, Pita Bread (SGD $4) in Greece is a common, everyday staple. Here, the pita bread is freshly made in-house, and this leavened flatbread baked from wheat flour is soft and thin in texture, tearing apart easily, yet with a satisfiying chewy texture. Makes for a perfect scoop to pick up their delicious dips!

Pita Bread (SGD $4)


Pita Bread



The undecided may wish to get this Dip Platter (SGD $32), a sampler of all 4 of the Greek dips available here. However, this should definitely be shared between at least 3 or more people, as it's large in portion size. Best paired with their excellent Pita Bread (SGD $4)!

Dip Platter (SGD $32)



The cool, refreshing Tzatziki / Cucumber Yoghurt (SGD $15) is a classic Greek dip / sauce, made with fresh, juicy cucumbers, Greek strained yoghurt, salt, dill herbs, and garlic. The result is a smooth, creamy, thick dip, eaten as a side dish or an appetizer, and is usually paired with grilled meat and bread. Good!

Tzatziki / Cucumber Yoghurt (SGD $15)



The earthy, savoury Melitzanosalata / Eggplant Salad (SGD $16) is not a salad, but a dip / sauce, usually eaten with bread. It's made with char-grilled eggplant (aubergine), onions, salt, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice, garnished with parsley and chopped walnuts. The dish has a savoury, smoky, nutty taste, with a light, zesty, slightly crunchy, grainy texture. Personally, this was my least favourite of the 4 dips / sauces.

Melitzanosalata / Eggplant Salad (SGD $16)



The savoury, nutty Fava / Split Pea Puree (SGD $13) has a rich, smooth, creamy texture, with a completely yummy taste that I found incredibly addictive! Made with mashed yellow split peas, onions, capers, caper leaves, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, this dip / sauce goes well with nearly everything. Unstoppable! Highly recommended!

Fava / Split Pea Puree (SGD $13)



The unique Taramosalata / Cod Roe Cream (SGD $16) has a savoury, salty, smoky taste, with a rich, smooth, creamy texture. This unusual yet pleasing Greek dip / sauce is made with cured cod roe (fish eggs), lemon juice, olives, and olive oil. You get the rich, briny taste of the cod fish and sea, followed by the deep, earthy flavour of olives. Not bad at all. An acquired taste, I personally liked it!

Taramosalata / Cod Roe Cream (SGD $16)



The Gambari / Fried Baby Shrimp (SGD $22) are quickly flash fried, resulting in an extremely crisp morsel. The light, golden batter crunches satisfiyingly, and the entire thing can be eaten whole, head and all. You still can taste the freshness in the shrimp! Served with a refreshing basil mayonnaise, which imparts a floral taste to the savoury, salty shirmp. Makes a great appetizer or bar snack!

Gambari / Fried Baby Shrimp (SGD $22)


Gambari / Fried Baby Shrimp



The Moussaka (SGD $26) here is done to traditional standards, with layers of tender eggplant (aubergine), roasted potatoes, and savoury minced beef, all coated in a béchamel white sauce. This savoury baked casserole dish is lovely and warm, hearty and filling, a classic Greek comfort food!

Moussaka (SGD $26)


Moussaka



The Kotopoulo Souvlaki / Chicken Skewers (SGD $24) features tender and juicy chunks of grilled chicken, along with crunchy green bell peppers (capsicums) and sharp onions, served on a long skewer. Beneath is a bed of warm pita bread, a large dollop of cool, plain yoghurt, and semi-crisp roasted potato strips, shaped like fries. This savoury grilled dish is large in portion size, and very filling, and I love the nice smoky flavour of the chicken with its juicy texture. Very good dish!

Kotopoulo Souvlaki / Chicken Skewers (SGD $24)


Kotopoulo Souvlaki / Chicken Skewers



Wild caught and air-flown directly from the fisheries of the Aegean Sea, the Grilled Lavraki / Grilled Whole Seabass Fish (SGD $9.80 / 100g) easily feeds up to 4 people. With tender, firm, white fish meat that flakes off easily, the seabass fish also has a hint of smoky aroma from the grill, and a savoury, salty, sweet taste. Served with fresh boiled slices of carrots, broccoli, and zucchini, along with lemon wedges, and 2 types of sauce. Frankly, you don't really need the sauces, the fish is lovely enough on its own. Good!

Grilled Lavraki / Grilled Whole Seabass Fish (SGD $9.80 / 100g)


Grilled Lavraki / Grilled Whole Seabass Fish



The Salt Baked Tsipoura / Salt Baked Seabream Fish (SGD $10.20 / 100g + $10 Preparation) is a performance dish, well worth ordering if you're in the mood to splurge, or like your meals with entertainment. The fresh seabream fish arrives, packed under a mountain of sea salt, in which it was baked. Staff crack open the salt crust, then carve the fish tableside, deboning it and laying the flesh on a presentation plate. You can be sure other diners around you will be watching as well!

The seabream fish, which usually has a dry texture, is instead moist and soft, as a result from being salt-baked. The meat is delicate with a slight bounce, a savoury sweet taste, and a slight hint of salty, you can taste the freshness! Served with lemon wedges, vegetables, and 2 sauces, an earthy squid ink sauce, and a fresh basil sauce. This dish is widely served throughout Athens, in the Attica region of Greece, as an everyday item!

Salt Baked Tsipoura / Salt Baked Seabream Fish (SGD $10.20 / 100g + $10 Preparation)


Carving The Fish


Carving The Fish


Salt Baked Tsipoura / Salt Baked Seabream Fish (SGD $10.20 / 100g + $10 Preparation)


Salt Baked Tsipoura / Salt Baked Seabream Fish



Glad to see the classic Greek dessert of Loukoumades (SGD $16), known in Turkish cuisine as Lokma, a dish of deep-fried dough pastries spiced with cinnamon sugar, coated in a sweet honey syrup, garnished with crushed walnuts. Light and crisp in texture, these doughnut lookalikes crunch softly in the mouth, releasing the warm, sweet nectar they've absorbed. Highly recommended!

Loukoumades (SGD $16)


Loukoumades



The unusual dessert of Ekmek Kataifi / Greek Shredded Pastry Pudding (SGD $18) is named for the thin strands of kataifi phyllo pastry which make up its base, looking like shredded wheat. Baked till crisp and golden, scented with lemon syrup, then topped with a rich, creamy, Mastiha / Mastika vanilla custard and whipped cream. This rich, decadent dessert has a combination of textures; crispy, smooth, soft, creamy, firm; along with several tastes; sweet, sour, bitter, floral. We disagreed over our liking for this dessert, consenting that it's very much an acquired taste, the flavour is largely unusual to most Singaporeans.

Ekmek Kataifi / Greek Shredded Pastry Pudding (SGD $18)


Ekmek Kataifi / Greek Shredded Pastry Pudding


Ekmek Kataifi / Greek Shredded Pastry Pudding



Overall, I was very pleased with the fine dining experience at Alati. The ambience in the decor is beautiful, though the room was slightly warm. The service was refined and professional, while the authentic Greek food was delicious. Some of the tastes at Alati may be unusual for most Singaporeans, and will take time to acquire, but overall, dishes are palatable. Don't be put-off by the complex names of dishes on the menu! Prices are high for everyday dining, but comfortable and acceptable for twice weekly dining. Those with an adventurous palate shouldn't miss out on dining at Alati restaurant!


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