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Shashlik, oh Shashlik

This restaurant was introduced to me more than 10 years ago by an ex-boyfriend. I can't remember much about the dinner we had, except thattthe meats were skewered and the waiters were old Hainanese.  

Sometime last year, Shashlik shocked Singapore by announcing their pending closure. I recalled I wasn't particularly sad but still, I lamented the loss of an institution.  Towards the last day of the operations, the restaurant was said to be packed by diners who wanted a last meal there. I would have gone if I had the time but it wasn't a priority and it didn't happen.

But it reopened and I was glad my mother suggested to have lunch there one weekend. The refurbished restaurant looked classic with its dark grey walls and wood flooring.  

We had a cosy corner with a baby chair for little A. The waitress was smily and she gave us two buns (instead of the usual 1 piece) because we told her we were famished!  The buns were warm and soft, eggy and sweet, not unlike a Hawaiian bread.  Requisite SCS butter served alongside went well though the sweet taste of the bun alone did not really require anything more.

We skipped the appetizers as reviews on them were mostly mixed but my sister got escargots just because she wanted to try the homemade butter garlic crumb stuffing. They were good, according to her but one of them snails got stuffed way too far into the shell and she got mad trying to pry it out unsuccessfully.

Moving on to the main courses, we got the shashlik beef (one medium and one medium well), shashlik lamb and two oxtail stews. The beef was marinated well but the cooking was leaning more on the rare side.  The lamb was slightly gamey and my sister who ordered them didn't like it much.  Both my mother and I, we go for the bones.  So we got the oxtail stew. Oh MINE! It was love on first taste.  LOVE.  Meat was fall off the bone soft and the cartilage or tendons attached were my favorite parts as  they were slightly gooey and chewy.   Served alongside were 2 slices of baguette toast, boiled potatoes and carrots.  These were necessary to break the richness of the meat and stew sauce. Four humongous portions of tail were served and I easily wolved down the first two, and felt slightly full.  But greedy for more, I went in on the third piece and found myself struggling between wanting to eat more and feeling the onset of the richness.  I couldn't deal with the fourth and last piece.  Luckily my sister was there to help out (since she just didn't want to deal with her lamb).  At the end of the meal, I was totally stuffed.

We still shared 2 of their signature desserts - the baked alaska and the brandied cherry bomb. Baked alaska was flambed right on the table.  With the meringue, cream and cheap ice cream, everything  was just sweet and sweet.  I guess for the nostalgia, it was worth the calories one time.  But the brandied cherry bomb fared better.  Cooked tableside, it was also a theatrical treat for everyone. The buttery cooked cherries with brandy had more complexity in the taste, but sharing  portion is sufficient.  You wouldn't want to have more than that.  

Anyway, go for the OXTAIL.  Only available on Wednesdays and weekends.  OXTAIL!


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