Thursday, August 18, 2005

Please don't flambée my backside, the food's quite good

I am thankful for a lot of things, really. Like having enough money to give myself a treat after a reasonably crappy day at work. And what treat did I have enough money to give myself, you may well ask? Well, I went and had dinner at that venerable Russo-Hainanese institution that serves the best borsch bar none: Shashlik Restaurant. If you've been there, you'd know the food's real good, and you'd immediately forgive the late 70s lighting, the late 70s furnishing, the late 70s crockery and the late 70s waiters. I've heard before about how rude and brusque the waiters at Shashlik were, and I'd like to clarify one thing: the waiters aren't rude, they're just Hainanese. They'll stand around the bar and talk loudly in Russian because they think they're the best Russian restaurant in town, and they'd be right. And one of the fabulous things about the brusque borsch serving waiters is that even when there's a bunch of them talking loudly in Russian at the bar, there's still a couple of them brusquely pushing borsch, shashlik, and all manner of flambé on squeaky trolleys around the restaurant. If you were to go there, on the 6th floor of the Far East Shopping Centre (not Far East Plaza, which is the cool and funky place with the funky clothes and the funky people selling funky clothes to funky people), I'd recommend you have the borsch to start with, then the shashlik beef/lamb, and then the flambéed banana/cherry/alaska for dessert, topped off with the best Hainanese Russian kopitiam coffee this side of Ya Kun's. I really think this is the best Russian restaurant in town, and I'm not saying this because I'm afraid the Hainanese waiters might flambée my backside if I said otherwise. Dinner was good enough for me to want to dine there again soon, which is significant in itself because before tonight, the last time I dined there must've been twenty years ago. Shashlik Got dress code one leh Shashlik Quite dark, until the flaming trolley comes by Shashlik Restaurant Then they take the stuff off the flaming trolley onto your table: Banana Flambé Shashlik Restaurant The coffee's nosso good if you're expecting espresso Shashlik Must be nice to the waiters, else they flambée your backside Surf stop: Majulah Singapura's Journal iTunes Party Shuffle is playing a copy of Smoke from the album "Whatever And Ever Amen" by Ben Folds Five

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Shashlik and their Borsch is to die for!!! Good to see that they are still around.

(singaporean quitter in LA)

8/18/2005 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger the virgin undergrad said...

Shashlik's awesome, i drool just thinking of the steak on a skewer and the baked alaska. apparantly the older hainanese waiters and waiteresses there all have a stake in the restaurant cos' somewhere in the 80s the original owner wanted to wind up the business and the staff just piled their savings together and took over the establishment. which is probably why they seem to take so much pride in their service. if you're able to speak hainanese to them, they'll be extra friendly.

8/18/2005 03:10:00 AM  
Blogger Tym said...

I'm glad Shashlik's still doing well. It's been at least five years since I ate there. I'm eternally petrified that the late 70s waiters will one day, well, you know lah, become just late waiters/owners --- and then what will become of this fine institution?

8/18/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Terz said...

Which reminds me, we should go there again. Funnily enough, the last time I was there was 5 years ago too.

8/18/2005 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous geroithe said...

hmmm what's the price range?? for i'm but a poor student... =(

8/18/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The food at Shashlik has evolved over the years to suit local taste buds. There's a little known but really authentic Russian place along Arab Street right opposite Golden Landmark Hotel run by real Russians. And it's a helluva lot chaper. :)

8/18/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, I mean chEaper.

8/18/2005 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I agree that Shashlik is the best!

I managed to arrange for a dept outing there once... but my colleagues were shocked by their service..

well.. to me.. i just care about how good the food tasted!

8/18/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger littlecartnoodles said...

Good service from the Uncles and Aunties at Shashlik too, if you speak Mandarin to them.

I have also been to that Russian restaurant near Golden Landmark Hotel - can't recall the name. Very authentic - real Russian waiter and boss ! But authentic = acquired taste.

8/18/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ah 9 said...

They have been around for a while...hehe. Flaming alaska?

8/18/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Anonymous yAnn said...

Shashlik is good stuff!
The steaks are yummy and the staff there are so brusque, they make me laugh. But yeah, a smile will materialise when you respond to them in Hainanese.
I always feel as if I am in a totally different world when I go there.

8/18/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sandra Ng said...

was there a couple of weeks back. the garlic steak was good. and so was dessert :)

8/19/2005 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Postmaster-General said...

I used to eat there alot... Although now that I'm in DC i can compare with real russian food. The Former KGB, now CSB(?), people eat at the Hawk and Dove. Which is an american pub for all intents and purposes.

8/19/2005 01:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Kristian said...

I go there on Wed arvo for their Oxtail set lunch. Shiok and only less than $15 per pax. Need to call and reserve because it's always full.

8/19/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous jeslyn said...

yea, their food was superb! i am going there again soon. :D

8/19/2005 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger sesame said...

Hey, my hub is a great fan of Shashlik and have always raved about their food. I went with him once, and although I'm not a fan of western food, I must say that theirs is quite yummy. Love their garlic escargot!

8/19/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Cold Lion said...


8/20/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cake said...

issn't borsch BEETROOT SOUP!!!


Or am i misinformed.

8/20/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger kachuaz said...

try their baked alaska the next time round.

8/20/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger kachuaz said...

borsch is sort of chunky beef with veggie soup..

wat beetroot...

8/20/2005 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Cake said...

whoops. not beetroot. beet.

8/22/2005 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said...

When I was growing up, 'Troika' was my favourite restaurant, my parents would take me and my sisters there on our birthdays. That was simply the best Russo-Hainanese restaurant in town till the place closed down. Do you remember the decor of 'Troika' in the DBS Bank building? Then, the staff went and formed 'Shashlik'. I have fond memories of both places though I don't quite like it as much today.

8/24/2005 03:56:00 PM  

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