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Saturday, 16 January 2016

[Media Invite] Dinner at Alati Divine Greek Cuisine @ Amoy Street

73 Amoy Street, Singapore 069892
Tel: 6221 6124

Alati Restaurant is a newly-opened Greek restaurant located in the CBD area, amongst a row of shophouses filled with restaurants, cafes and bars. "Alati" means "salt" (άλας) in ancient Greek, and the restaurant is named so because of the fresh wild-caught seafood from the Aegean waters, bringing the taste of the sea right to your table.

At Alati's, everything is painstakingly and meticulously made by hand, from the bread to the meat. The General Manager Mr. Leong Khai Git (who is also one of the founders) started out as a Chef himself, and has since risen through the ranks and wishes to bring the beauty of Greek food to Singapore.

Ambience at Alati Restaurant is spatial, classically Greek in the bold tones of blue and white, spacious, chic. One feels exactly like they have stepped through the borders and crossed continents, and have landed at the Cyclades region easily. Comfort and excellent service are other qualiites this restaurant posesses.

Fresh fish and seafood (flown in from Greece) are on a display counter at kitchen entrance,  and Git himself gave us a detailed introduction to his restaurant concept and dishes.  This was a media invited tasting session attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere and other familiar faces aka reviewers / bloggers.

We started with some Greek wines imported specially from Greece vineyards. Other wines and spirits accompanied us throughout the course of the meal as well. We started with Amethystos - beautiful white wine comprising Sauvignon Blanc and Assyrtiko, redolent of grapes' distinctive sweetness.

Then we had a bottle of red wine named Kanenas, which translates into "No One", giving it a forlorn and enigmatic feel instantly; it was smooth and pierced the right notes of the palate. Finally, a potent bottle of Mastiha Skinos - strong punch, heavy flavour and long note. This was one spicy drink!

Dinner commenced with some crispy bread (baguette) with dips of olive and sea salt. It was a refreshing combination, and the bread was so tasty.

The Horiatiki (SGD$22.00), better known as Greek Salad, kickstarted the tasting session formally. It is made up of fresh tomatoes, olives, cucumber, onions, bell peppers, feta cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Every bite was fresh and crisp with sweetness of the vegetables; the feta added a savoury element to the salad.

Next, Dolmadakia (SGD$19.00) - vine leaves wrapped with rice and pine nuts, always one of my favorite dishes on the table. They were steamed till soft, and the leaves lent a subtle fragrance to the rice. The pine nuts added crunch to the simple but delicious dish.

The Fyllo-wrapped Feta (SGD$15.00) was exactly that - a thin puff pastry encrusting feta cheese and deep-fried, drizzled with honey and seasme. The ingredients sounded simple, but the combination made for a tasty delight blend of flavours and textures, gentle without overpowering each other. I especially revelled in the touch of honey against the heavier flavour of the feta.

Next, Gambari (SGD$22.00) - fried baby shrimps served with basil mayonnaise. These bite-sized, crackling shrimps made for perfect appetisers, especially with drinks; the entire shrimps were edible because they were so crispy. Sweetness of the prawns was evident as well.

Following that, we had the Mousaka (SGD$26.00) - minced beef with eggplant,  potatoes and belchamel sauce. It resembled the Chinese carrot cake at first glance, but a closer look brought to sight the other ingredients in this square of eggplant, potatoes and beef. Texture was soft; taste was gentle, with minced beef playing the dominant game here, but gently so.

The Dips were next - they are traditionally sold in individual flavours and portions, but for tasting purpose we had a platter of different dips. These dips are best served with a slice of their warm, handmade Pita Bread (SGD$4.00). The pita wowed the palate on its own, even before we coated it with dip.

Fava (SGD$13.00) is Santorini's bean puree with onions, tasting like chickpeas, with the same earthly tones and "sandy" coarse texture.  Tzatsiki (SGD$15.00) is Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill and garlic - complete with hints of tart and saltiness. Taramosalata (SGD$16.00) aka cod roe cream was my favorite-  like the Japanese mentaiko, creamy and sapid with roe's flavour. Melitzanosalata (SGD$16.00) is made of smoked eggplant with walnuts, smooth and thick in texture, with the light sweetness of eggplant.

Then Lavraki (SGD$9.80 per 100g) aka Seabass, beautifully grilled and de-boned, served with lots of grilled vegetables. Dips were provided on the side, but the fish on its own was moist and tender; saccharine with freshness.

Tsipoura (SGD$10.20 per 100g) aka Seabream was salt-baked (additional SGD$10.00), so when it was served it was coated a golden brown beautifully. Git helped us to debone personally. The flakey, snow-whiteness of the flesh reflected its freshness; the first bite was springy and the taste of the sea lingered beautifully.

Following that, we had Kotopoulo Souvlaki (SGD$24.00), basically Grilled Chicken with onions, green peppers and yogurt, served on a skewer, with potato fries on the side. The chicken was utterly succulent, its flavour enhanced by the smokey hints infused.

Desserts were served thereafter, starting with Loukoumades (SGD$16.00) - Greek fried donuts with honey, cinnamon and walnuts. It may look just like any other doughnut, but the addition of honey, cinnamon and walnuts added taste and bite to this crispy dessert.  You can choose to add on a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for SGD$4.00.

Finally, Galaktoboureko (SGD$14.00) - lemon and cinnamon flavoured custard in phyllo pastry. This was beautifully decent-  not too sweet despite its appearance. The dessert itself was satin smooth, a light hint of savoury broken through by zesty pierce of lemon. Some may not like it at first bite, because of the exotic taste; but the flavour grows on you, and it becomes addictive after that. I would choose to have this again when I return to the restaurant for my meals.

For lunch, Alati Restaurant has special set lunch at SGD$25.00, and one could choose from the Karpos Platter or Meze Platter - very value for money. Drop by this stunningly beautiful restaurant for a meal to experience Greece for yourself today!

Thank you Alati, Git and team for the fabulous tasting session; and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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