Makan

The last of Shashlik

The news of Shashlik's closure in December got the crowd buzzing.

I can understand why. Shaslik is an icon. It tells of a determination and that age is no barrier to goals.

Nine Hainanese pals and ex-employers of the former Troika restaurant in Bras Basah pooled $16,000 each to set up Shashlik about 30 years ago.

But I can't see this makan legend sold and turned into some predictable eatery spewing a few Hainanese oldies and clueless Western fare.

If Shashlik must be sold, it should be to a younger - perhaps Generation X - Hainanese in the business. Buying just the brand, business model and recipes, in my books, would not be a "handover".

Last week's meal could possibly be my last at this old haunt. We started with some stuff I don't think can be found in modern menus.

TOP SPOT

The Eggs Millionaire took top spot: chopped-up boiled eggs, folded cheese and potato baked in halved egg shell.

And no one should miss the classic Borshch: beefy and with a dollop of sour cream.

The escargot, while buttery and rich, did not floor me as you can't get them fresh in our stores, so no recipe can save it.

The Oyster Mornay, baked with Bechamel sauce and cheese, was nice but not memorable.

Although it has daily lunch specials like the Oxtail Stew on Wednesdays (my favourite), we went for the Fish Papillotte (paper-wrapped baked fish). It was a simple flavour with spiced tomato sauce and herbs, but the clincher was the way they wrapped it - it looked like a fish.

The Pork Shashlik came looking and tasting almost bland.

I love how my favourites, the Baked Alaska and the Cherry Jubilee, are still prepared with much fanfare.

And when we asked for Irish Coffee, a cocktail glass was fired up before it's filled with Irish whisky and coffee, topped with cream.

New owners must bear in mind: Menus can evolve and improve but heritage must never change.

Shashlik Restaurant

545, Orchard Road #06-19, Far East Shopping Centre,

  • Noon to 2.15pm
  • 6.30pm to 9.15pm
  • Closed on Mondays
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