Break all the rules with this eclectic new mix-and-match restaurant at Jalan Besar, which combines flavours from across Asia.
Can’t make up your mind on which cuisine to choose or what food to eat? Take a little bit of everything and throw it all together for a wonderful blend of flavours at alittle tashi, Jalan Besar’s newest eatery. Tibetan for “welcome” and “blessings”, “tashi” is a spiritual guide for the restaurant’s modern Asian menu inspired by countries travelled, and a ‘zi char’ concept with sharing plates prepared from the heart. Diners are encouraged to try everything, and mix-and-match sauces with dishes to create their own unique dining experience.
Blink and you’ll miss the unassuming storefront of alittle tashi. Press open the doors of this secret hideout to reveal the cosy Dining Room that is classy yet inviting, with olive walls, deep purple chairs and a splash of yellow from dangling rope curtains, and low-hanging ceramic lights that are reminiscent of glowing lanterns. Dine in style in the Dining Room, and chill with friends over drinks on the steps at the Laundry room, also accessible from the Instagram-worthy backdoor (read: lights in the shapes of hanging laundry).
Choose to have the Laundry Room’s dishes as either bar snacks or a starter. We whet our appetite with togarashi-spiked (Japanese chilli peppers) Spicy Vegetable Chips ($8) and the Baked Mozzarella ($10) with a sprinkling of furikake. Lift and pull the skewer sticks apart for cheesy goodness, and wrap the cheese around the skewer to create a chewy mozzarella lolly, best enjoyed while lounging inside the Laundry Room, with a glass of red ($11/glass of Sette Ponti Chianti Rosso Vigna di Pallino DOCG).
We continued our night in the Dining Room. A versatile accompaniment, the pickled Garlic Cucumber ($7) works well with the dishes or simply on its’ own – the tart discs crunchy with a soft jellied centre, with just enough acidity to cut through the richness of the other dishes. The menu also features other interesting pickled dishes, like the Roasted Beetroot ($8). Wash them down with a sweet Hakushika Nadajikomi Dry sake ($23/450ml carafe).
Brussels Sprouts – they don’t look appetising but they sure were delicious.
We loved the Blood Cockles ($14) from the Little Bites selection – Vietnamese-style plump and juicy blood cockles dressed in a sweet-spicy blend of chilli jam and fish sauce caramel, topped off with crispy pork fat “croutons” for that satisfying crunch. For greens, try the Brussels Sprouts ($12). Deep-fried and coated with miso, the brussels sprouts encased a tender green interior within their blackened leaves, best enjoyed with the accompanying sour cream. Other veggie options include the Bean Salad ($10), comprising of wing bean and long bean tossed in a tangy shrimp paste dressing.
The kitchen puts a spin on the typical mutton-with-mint-jelly combination with a chargrilled Lamb Ribs ($24) from the Bigger Bites selection, topped with mint yoghurt and a citrusy lemon preserve. The preserved lemon sauce helped reduce the gaminess of the lamb, but we recommend trying mutton with the skhug ($5 each for all a la carte sauces), a Yemeni hot sauce bursting with cumin flavour, for a taste of the Middle East. Other chargrilled dishes we liked were the garlic fennel-rubbed Pork Skewers ($16) with pineapple sauce, and Squid ($20) served with a refreshing Asian take on the Argentinian chimichurri.
If you’re feeling fancy, try the decadent Foie Gras ($35), featuring Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry-glazed foie gras on Japanese rice, perilla leaf, and rice cracker – an umami bomb in your mouth. In contrast, the Lion’s Head ($16) is the ultimate comfort food. Giant pork meatballs are kept juicy with crunchy water chestnut cubes embedded within, and wrapped delicately in cabbage shells before being braised, Shanghai-style, in a soy-based sauce – perfect with a bowl of steaming Tashi rice ($7, rice cooked in Tashi broth).
If rice isn’t your thing, opt for Lettuce Cups to wrap your grilled meats in, or a pan-fried Rice Cake for your staple (all staples at $7). Pair the steaming rice cakes with a glorious, salty Miso Cream ($5) and watch the creamy spread melt into the crisp outer shells – like salted butter on toast, but better. Your meal at alittle tashi really isn’t complete without exploring their extensive list of house-made sauces ($5 each) like Soy Sauce Caramel, and a surprisingly tangy Ssamjang (Korean spicy dipping sauce), so give them a try, and find your own favourite pairing.
We couldn’t leave without trying the Hot Salty Soya Milk ($9), a savoury soya milk spiked with Szechuan chilli oil, with Chinese donuts. Creamy, and comforting this dish is one to try for your supper run. We found the dish intriguing though it is an acquired taste, so try it with an open mind. Savoury soya milk: yay or nay – you decide.
Impeccable food, a confluence of regional Asian flavours, and the freedom to create happy accidents in the most relaxed settings – that’s the beauty of alittle tashi, and what’ll keep us going back for more.
39 Tyrwhitt Rd
Tel: 9757 3680
Month of February: 6pm-12am Tues-Sun
3rd March onwards: 6pm-12am Tues-Fri, 12pm-12am Sat, 12pm-8pm Sun