On the fringes of the CBD, on buzzy Amoy Street, sits a quaint-looking, yet polished restaurant. Don’t let the quiet exterior fool you – past the swinging glass doors, you’ll find yourself transported to the Greek islands, with the blue and white interiors fondly reminiscent to that of Santorini. Translated as “salt”, Alati pays tribute to the basic but essential elements of traditional Greek cooking, and that includes importing fresh and sustainable seafood from the Mediterranean coasts, enabling the restaurant to serve up authentic Grecian fare you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the city.
A word of caution: Having grown up in Greece himself, Chef Ioannis emphasizes heavily on the customary act of sharing food. The portions are therefore appropriately sized to cater to bigger groups. If you wish to avoid severe food coma, gather your friends for this one.
At a quarter past 12, lunch service at the restaurant was in full swing. With a majority of their patrons already starting eagerly on their mains, we were anxious to keep up. For starters, I highly recommend their toasted pita ($4), paired with the time-honoured taramosalata ($16). An expert on Greek food I am not, but I’ve had my fair share of pita bread and I never had such violent cravings for the flatbread until I’ve tried Alati’s oregano infused version. Perfect with flatbread, the taramosalata is pure blended goodness of cured fish eggs, shallots and Kalamata olives. Love cheese? Give the fyllo-wrapped feta ($18) a try. Encased in golden brown pastry, the feta fritters are then drizzled with a generous amount of Greek floral honey and garnished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Voila, creamy satisfaction!
Much like Greek mythology, seafood from the Aegean Sea is legendary. A staple even in ancient times, the Greeks found multiple ways to cook their catch. The armour of salt encasing our seabass, was said to seal in the moisture and keep all the flavours intact while it baked. We held our breath as the server cracked past the salty crust. The steam eventually parted, revealing a flawlessly-cooked fish. Be sure to enquire about the weight of the fish to get a better gage of the price. As a rough guide, the seabasses sell for $9.30 per 100g. An additional fee of $10 is charged for the salt baked seabass. with lemon and olive oil. For our more adventurous readers, have a go at their Greek Octopus ($39) which was grilled to perfection over a charcoal fire and garnished with onions and confit tomatoes doused in vinegar.
Dessert is my favourite part of every meal and, growing waistline or not, we couldn’t say no to what Alati brought out at the end. Topped with toasted walnuts and dusted with cinnamon, the Loukomades ($20) were made from scratch in Alati’s kitchen. The yeast is cultivated in-house by the chef, then fried till golden brown. Served with ice cream, Greek honey and chocolate, these donut fritters are a must try. Pair these golden goodies with coffee for a sweet ending to what was probably your first Greek meal in a while.
Alati also carries a vast selection of wines – think crisp Assyritiko whites and the fruity Xinomayro reds – thoughtfully curated and sourced directly from Greece, as well as spirits like Ouzo and Mastiha. For a sample, head down for their three-course set lunch ($32), where an additional $25++ will score you the wine pairing.
Alati is located at 73 Amoy Street, Singapore 069892, p. +65 62216124. Lunch is available Mon-Fri, 12pm to 2.30pm and Dinner from Mon-Sat, 6pm to 12am.