Published on Friday, 04 August 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
Documenting Alexander the Great’s adventures through a gastronomical journey, Aryaa offers a unique dining experience where history and food amalgamate to form an other-wordly concoction of sensory pleasures.
The décor throws you into a different world, a different realm of a different time. Interweaving elements of luxury from Greece, India and Turkey, Aryaa oozes a royal fairytale charm with plush velvet settees, gold fabric draping and billowing from its ceilings, and ornately emblazoned tables.
Mehmet Kamil Erkan, a second-generation Turkish chef, who has helmed his family restaurant’s stoves for 43 years, and worked in Greece for 5 years, constructed the entirety of Aryaa’s menu, separated into two sections – dishes From The Mediterranean, and dishes From the North Indian Subcontinent.
Both cuisines whipped up in Chef Erkan’s kitchen stay true to their ancient roots and origins. Embark on this culinary adventure and track the palette trail of Alexander the Great's, from his expedition across the Mediterranean, the Anatolian plateau, all the way into the Indian subcontinent, where he came face to face with the Aryans in 327 BC.
The Aryaa also takes extreme pride in concocting its specialty cocktails. Each cocktail takes approximately 5 – 10 minutes to be prepared, as every single drop of alcohol and liqueur that goes into the mix is carefully measured out in precise amounts. They are beautifully constructed and always adorned with dehydrated slices of fruits that take painstakingly long hours to be desiccated.
Sling is King, $20
A twist of Singapore Sling: Pineapple vodka mixed with citrus, apricot and pomegranate
Aryaa's rendition of the famous Singapore Sling actually appealed to our tastebuds more than the original recipe. Sling is King is sweet, refreshing and fruity and completely devoid of that nasty bitter medicinal taste often associated with the original recipe. This spin on the Singapore Sling is extremely easy to drink, like a sweet blend of fruit juices, with just a touch of acidity for a revitalizing perk of flavor from the citrus.
Alexander's Desire, $18
You know you’re in Asia when your drink has a hint of Nasi Lemak. This Pandan Infused Cachaca with citrus and plum syrup, gives so much character to this drink.
The base of Alexander's Desire is a cachaca – a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. This sugarcane spirit is sugary sweet yet packs a potent kick of alcohol. The plum syrup further heightens the deep sweetness of the drink while the citrus cuts through the saccharine liquid in stark contrast to prevent it from getting too overwhelmingly sweet. With every sip you take, you'll be able to detect a faint hint of the wafting pandan fragrance.
Pink Roxy, $20
Get foxy & roxy with this girly drink! This Spiced Rum with notes of citrus, almond, pineapple and orange will definitely wake you up!
Sharp and peppery with strong sweet-and-sour zesty bursts of citrus, this is a great picker-upper if you are feeling slightly lethargic, and will put the life of the party back in you.
The Aryaa Meze Platter, $18
Samples of the most popular Greek dips: Melitzanosalata, Tzatziki, Tirokafteri & Tiropitakia, served with pita bread.
From top clockwise: Melitzanosalata, Tiropitakia, Tzatziki and Tirokafteri
The Greeks love their dips. Dips are to pita bread what butter is to bread. They are delicious, pure and simple. The Aryaa compiled a platter of the best three dips and pastry that the rich history of Mediterranean cuisine has to offer.
Melitzanosalata - Eggplant dip
The Melitzanosalata is a traditional eggplant dip, hearty and big in flavor, but light in calories. The chunks of eggplant which had been lightly grilled gives a smoky caramelized flavor to the dip. The natural sweetness of the eggplant's flesh packed full of juices intermixed with the garlic, olive oil, lemon and parsley to create a cacophony of evolving flavors and aromas. This dip is chunky but has a smooth, almost gelatinous texture that melts in the mouth.
Tiropitakia – Greek pastry
The Tiropitakia is a mini cheese pie of Greek descent that is enjoyed as a rich and savory snack. The crust outside is thin, light and crisp which perfectly complements the rich, dense and creamy decadence of the crumbled feta cheese stuffed within.
Tzatziki – Yoghurt dip
The crème de la crème of Greek dips is the Tzatziki. While we were in Greece, almost every table in every traditional Greek taverna we patronized had a plate of tzatziki on the table. Tzatziki is a very invigorating yoghurt based dip incorporated with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and dill. It is extremely creamy, yet it washes over your tongue with an invigorating freshness from the cucumbers coalesced by an aromatic sharpness from the garlic, with a lively tanginess from the lemon juice and an evergreen astringency from the dill. This tasty versatile dip goes along great with practically anything; from crackers to bread, and vegetables to meat.
Tirokafteri – Spicy cheese spread
Thick and condensed creamed feta cheese is infused with the essence of our island-wide favorite chili padi. The cheese is heavy, thick, and creamy with an extraordinarily strong milky flavor, but it is prevented from getting too overwhelming with the spiciness of the chili starkly cutting through that richness.
Plated Lamb Gyro, $22
Seasoned lamb slow cooked over a rotisserie and served with tzatziki dip.
While the pile of lamb looked more like chunks of lamb stir-fried in a wok rather than slivers of lamb meat sliced off from a rotating rotisserie and coated in its own fat drippings, there is no denying its delicious robust flavors. The lamb is imbued with its naturally sweet, musky, and earthy aromas and infused with the deep intense savoriness atypical of Mediterranean spices and marinates. However, it lacked authenticity due to the texture – Aryaa’s version is served as thick chewy chunks of lamb where as all the other lamb gyros we tasted in traditional tavernas in Greece were piled high with thinly sliced juicy shavings that melted in the mouth.
Aryaa's Grill Platter, $55 (Serves 2)
Mix of beef kofta, lamb chops, chicken and lamb souvlaki served with fresh garden salad.(All souvlaki skewers, are served with fresh garden salad, Tzatziki sauce and tomato rice or pita bread).
The aromas that emanated from the platter as our server carried it out from the kitchen was vividly provocative and mouth-watering. The beef kofta, thoughtfully cut up into big chunks, is soft and moist with a a mild gamy, beefy essence. The lamb chops are perfectly grilled with a nice sear on the exterior that caramelized the meat, and cooked so perfectly within that it secretes juices when a knife is plunged into its tender meat. The chicken thigh is surprisingly packed with its savory juices with a nice smoky char on its surface. The pièce de résistance is the lamb souvlaki which pulled away from the skewer as effortlessly as butter sliding off a hot piece of metal. The lamb souvlaki is incredibly tender, inundated with a melodious medley of its natural aromas and Mediterranean spices, and explodes with its delectable juices in your mouth as the meat slowly disintegrates on your tongue.
Aryaa’s Signature Pistachio Baklava, $18
Chopped pistachio nuts held together by honey and served between layers of thin phyllo pastry. Our chefs specialty! Prepared fresh and served with Mocha ice cream on the side.
We reckon that Aryaa slightly tweaked the original baklava recipe to suit the palettes of Singaporeans’ as its version is not as sugary sweet as the ones we had in Greece. The thin and flaky pastry is lightly brushed with honey and a mixture of crushed pistachio nuts swirled in honey is sandwiched in between. Served warm, this sweet, nutty, and crisp dessert may not be very authentic as its sweetness level is taken down a couple of notches than what the traditional recipe calls for, but it is nonetheless still an awesome treat, especially coupled with the ice cold mocha ice cream.
Home made creamy custard wrapped in golden brown crispy phyllo pastry, drizzled with melted butter, bathed in scented syrup with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The outer layer is crisp and crumbles away with barely a chew, and the cross section oozes with molten custard, sweet, warm, creamy and comforting. The melted butter drizzled over this dessert gives it a pop of delectable oily richness while the sprinkle of cinnamon provides a sweet and woody finish.
Address: 7500E Beach Road, #01-201, Diners Building, Singapore 199595
Hours: Mon – Fri 12noon – 3pm & 6pm – 11pm, Sat 6pm – 11pm (Closed Sun)
Tel.: +65 6291 6009
Hi, I'm Cheryl. I possess a joie de vivre spirit unique to my character, my expressions of euphoria are wild in nature and I approach life like one colossal party. I love venturing into the unknown and exploring all that is possible; from exotic foods to cliff-diving. When I am not seeking out something extraordinary to check off my bucket list, I love curling up on a comfy couch with a glass of wine and a book in hand. Follow my personal adventures in my blog here where I let loose of all inhibitions, voice my inner-most emotions, exult in all that is wonderful, unleash the monsters within, lose myself in beautiful reveries, reminisce treasured memories and curate recherché experiences.