A new reason to visit Jalan Besar: alittle tashi restaurant is doing modern Asian comfort foods right, with global flavours thrown in the mix and a punchy lineup of sauces.
Add this to your late-night restaurant list: mod-Asian restaurant alittle tashi has sprung up in Jalan Besar, serving up comfort foods and bar bites until midnight. But this is no post-drinks afterthought: hot new table alittletashi hits the sweet spot with its decently priced menu with some serious winners…
It’s a cool little space with a casual vibe: order and pay at the counter; pour your own sake shot. Spread out in the communal dining-style front room decked out in concrete and yellow rope, or head out back to the ‘Laundry’, where you can hang out on the stairs with your bar bites (baked chicken skin, mushrooms in chilli batter, fried Chinese donut in soy caramel sauce). Make sure you pop out to the laneway and see why this space got its name – it’s literally up in lights.
We settled in at the Dining Room, and started by loading up on the house-made pickles: garlicky cucumber, roasted beetroot, spicy wing bean and crunchy radish. It’s a punchy way to start.
The menu extends to an eclectic collection of Asian comfort foods (think stir-fried cockles and crispy pork belly) with some unexpected global elements (think foie gras, mozarella and bone marrow). Random? It reads that way, but it works.
What brings it all together is an ace lineup of sauces, all made in alittle tashi’s kitchen: Asian chimichurri, Korean ssamjang chilli sauce (served with crispy veal tongue), scallion and ginger sauce, cilicuka and a miso cream dressing that teeters on being too rich – which makes it sublime. Yes you should slather the stuff on everything. And slather the sauces on other sauces too.
And since we’re already getting into some shameless enjoyment here, we need to talk about the blood cockles. Garlicky and sticky with chilli jam and fish sauce caramel, and tossed with crispy pork fat, this dish is so good we broke the first-date food rule and abandoned our cutlery to eat those garlicky little suckers with our hands.
There’s also the char-grilled beef short ribs, so tender you can scoop the meat off the bone. It’s served with skhug: a Middle-Eastern dip of fresh coriander, garlic chilli and cumin. Not your average condiment served in an Asian Joint in Jalan Besar. Another surprise: fat, chilled mussels served with crispy pork belly (pictured top). Pop them in your mouth together to get the contrast of textures and the sweet-sourness of the mussels cutting through the fat.
As for the sweet stuff, we were treated to vodka-spiked watermelon and mint popsicles (currently being dished out to the first 20 diners each night).
What do you drink with such an eclectic lineup? There’s the aforementioned sake, so clean it sidles up to almost anything. And there’s a neat wine list: the owners went for a small pick of natural and organic wines, but aren’t shouty about it.
There’s a lot more on the menu that’s intrigued us enough to plan a return visit, stat. The snails and marrow with garlic rice, and the bowl of hot salty soy milk with Szechuan chilli oil are calling…
alittletashi; 39 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207538
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