Alati, directly translates as ‘Salt’ in Greek, prides itself in making available the freshest catches from the waters of the Aegean Sea. The white washed walls, ceiling, floor & furnishing reminisces of the infamous architectural themes of the Cyclades, not far from the birth place of the Greek God- Apollo.
This rare find is located only a short 3~5min walking distance from the spanking new Telok Ayer MRT station. It’s jointly made enjoyable by two extraordinary gentlemen who are bold enough to do things a little different from the pack.
Leong Khai Git, with 10 good years of culinary experience, since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney. Nominated Local Rising Chef in 2015, and ranked top 10 chefs in Singapore. Now, a Co-Founder & General Manager of this establishment.
Soutsos Dimitrios, born & raised in Athens, had his share of culinary flair in the kitchens of some renowned & celebrated Greek hotels & restaurants. Now, Executive Chef who rolls out a list of fine Greek indulgences.
Alati offers modern Greek renditions of select Greek all-time favorites, and variants of hallmark wines from where else but Greece. Add to that, a crew of service staff, knowledgeable in the cuisines & dishes, that most local patrons may be unfamiliar with. Service standards fit to fine dining, albeit in a cozy and vibrant setting.
Domaine Costa Lazaridi, Amethystos White – un-oaked white wine, comprises of Sauvignon Blanc, Assyrtiko, Semillon. Smooth, non-acidic taste and almost a peach like fragrance. Good enough on its own, and great for going with seafood, salads & poultry.
Horiatiko Psomi – fresh from the kitchen, a traditional Greek Country Bread complimentary sets the mood quite instantly. Fragrant thick crispy crust and soft sponge-like texture within. Accompanied for dips, extra virgin olive oil laced with 4 distinct influences; comprising of Balsamic Vinegar, Basil Oil, Sun-Dried Tomato Flakes & Sea Salt. I liked the basil oil fragrance best.
Horiatiki – Greek Salad as commonly known, for a moment made me forget my meat loving nature. The bite sized slices of sweet succulent tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, strips of bell peppers, olives, doused with extra virgin olive oil and topped with a ½” thick feta cheese.
Dolmadakia – rice & pine nuts rolled & cooked in vine leaves. Somewhat familiar to some dishes from the region, and distanced variants in our continent. The novelty, eat it with the leaves. Some would prefer it on its own, but I like it with the mayo dip on the side.
Fyllo-wrapped feta – this is a must have for feta cheese lovers. Filo pastry wrapped feta cheese, doused with Greek honey, sprinkled with sesame seeds. I’m not familiar with sweet pastry for starters, but then again, I think it’s good before, after and in between meals (tea/ coffee). Don’t miss it!
Pita Bread – A staple in the Mediterranean, hand made from scratch, rolled and baked fresh from the kitchen. Cut into bite sized wedges, makes for easy consumption. There’s something about char baked dough that works well for me, the texture is nicely chewy and not dry to the taste.
Unless you’re decided on one or two particular dips, the combo dips platter (Fava, Tzatziki, Taramosalata, Melitzanosalata) is good for communal dining.
Dips in order of my preference
Tzatziki (top left) – Greek yoghurt, cucumber, dill & garlic. The taste is nicely balanced and not over bearing. I’d be happy to finish a tub of this while watching trilogy movies.
Fava (bottom right) – Santorini’s bean puree has a nice familiar nutty taste, cream like texture, topped with chopped onions for sweetness.
Taramosalata (bottom left) – Cod roe cream. This is somewhat on the saltier side, but for caviar or roe lovers, this is a no brainer.
Melitzanosalata (top right) – smoked eggplant & walnuts. Tiny bits of soft milky eggplant & soft crunch. I suppose is the salsa/ guacamole of the Mediterranean.
Gambari – fried baby shrimps with basil mayo dip. Shrimps are not prawns, prawns are not shrimps. Shrimps smaller physique, thinner shell, compact flesh, stronger taste. The only remnants you’ll find is just crumbs of the fallen fried batter. The basil mayo is good for masking the natural saltiness of the shrimp.
Tsantali Kanenas Red – part Mavroudi, part Syrah. Deep, dense red, aromas of red fruits, spices and wood. Not too prickly, easy on the palates and throat, good enough on its own. The story behind the name is one that features the interview with the Greek mythical cyclops, named Kanenas, meaning “no one”.
(Yes, the name does tickle, especially if you know Hokkien).
Mousaka – Minced beef with eggplant, potatoes and belchamel sauce. In my opinion, this is the very light (non-cheese) transliteration of mashup between the all familiar Shepherd’s pie & lasagna. Roasted custard like texture on top, with chunky savory bits in the bottom layer. Put a smile on my face.
Lavraki (grilled) – fresh wild Sea Bass grilled to a nice crispy finish on the outside, moist, juicy & tender on the inside. The fish is de-boned making it a whole lot easier to consume. Served with grilled cucumber, carrots & broccoli, accompanied with sea salt, extra virgin olive oil & another with tiny bits of herbs/mints. I enjoy meats in its natural taste, so I didn’t quite need the dips.
Kotopoulo Souvlaki – Grilled chicken with potatoes, onions, green peppers and yogurt. The juicy tender chicken skewered kebabs with caramelized pepper is simply lovely. More pita bread and a generous serving of Greek yogurt on the side. The roasted potato strips are not to be mistaken as fries. They’re crisp on the outside soft on the inside, not too starchy, and has a light sweetness in the after taste.
Tsipoura (salt baked) – fresh wild Sea Bream has a leaner physique, it’s recommended to retain its moisture when cooked. Hence, salt baking infuses some taste, while locking the moisture in. The salt crust is hacked, skeleton removed and served with squid ink mayo & basil mayo on the side. The texture is as promised, moist & juicy, the salt infused flesh is good enough on its own.
Loukoumades – Greek fried donuts with honey, cinnamon & walnuts. Crispy crust, with light texture on the inside. There were familiarity with our local “butterfly” fried fritter, only, better. After all, honey does have its own unique allure.
Galaktoboureko – Lemon & cinnamon flavored custard in phyllo pastry. The texture & taste is light & refreshing, stacked on a layer of kataifi dough – shredded filo pastry. The kataifi resembles vermicelli but softer, and less bouncy as the putu mayam or Idiyappam, and has its own mild sweetness.
Skinos Mastiha – a renowned Greek digestif liqueur, consumed after meals and quite often accompanied with desserts. Don’t under estimate the clear innocent appearance, for it packs quite a punch, and is sweet but prickly. Tastes of star anise, liquorice and honey – somewhat less herbal than the Grappa, and Limoncello without the lemon.
Sources have it, that ancient Greek medical practitioners prescribed Mastiha for oral care and stomach related relief. I reckon is good on any given chilly/ rainy day too.
I find the overall dining experience at Alati to be holistic, on account of its authenticity in its flavors, as well as the ambiance. The novelty of the concept defines its price point, and if you would like to, contact them on arrangements for private functions or events.