Returning to his hometown of Adelaide after featuring on (and winning) Season 10 of Masterchef in 2018 and, consequently, running a series of pop-up restaurants all around Australia and overseas, Sashi Cheliah is ready to inject his unique culinary skills on Pirie Street by launching his flagship restaurant.
Located in the heart of the busy strip that is central to the business and office crowd, GAJA By Sashi will incorporate a range of Asian-inspired dishes and cocktails, which will be reminiscent of his methodical approach of carefully curating delicious, spice-laden Indian and Malaysian food. The Singapore-born and eldest of seven children, Sashi developed a deep passion for food from watching his female family members cooking in their cafe.
Food is a huge part of my culture and there's always plenty of food to prepare at every cultural festival or celebration. I can still remember being in the kitchen at ten-years-old, watching my mother cook and smelling the spicy aromas. Sashi Cheliah (Owner, GAJA By Sashi)
Before his career in the culinary industry, Sashi worked in the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) unit of the Singapore Police Force for 12 years, before moving to Adelaide in 2012 to work as a prison guard and eventually signing up for Masterchef - and as we all know, the rest is history!
The brand-spanking -new location on Pirie Street offers its customers with a bright and welcoming fit-out, which was designed by Adelaide based interior design company Malbarosa & Co. The vibe of the space hopes to resonate with elements of Colonial Singapore with a modern twist. Towards the entrance, you are greeted with a large-scale geometric mural of a Gaja - meaning an elephant - which represents attributes of strength, wisdom, royalty and solidarity, and these characteristics are accentuated through Sashi's colourful menu that brings together flavours from China, India, and Malaysia together for a hearty meal with loved ones.
As you walk towards the back of the restaurant, there is another mural - a sparrow - that appears on a $50 Singaporean note and is affectionately called the birdcage. With his celebrated background within the Police Force and in security, Sashi hopes to use this space as a way of providing prisoners who return to the society after serving their time in prison with the opportunity to utilize their skills of working in the hospitality industry to their optimum.
The menu is oozing with a multicultural range of dishes with vibrant flavours channelling Chinese, Indian, and Malay elements that are encompassed into the collective that is Singaporean cuisine. Head Chef Miles Davis (career highlights include Hotel Longtime) has put together Asian-inspired dishes that come in small, medium, and large-sized portions, including Satay Degang (grilled beef or tofu with peanut satay), Goi Cuon (DIY cold rolls with marinated beef), Ghobi Masala (roast cauliflower with yoghurt), and Cari Vit (Lychee Duck Curry) – which was an award-winning dish for Sashi on MasterChef. Complementing these meals, you can also expect to enjoy locally sourced beers, wines, and spirits that will be used to create Asian-inspired cocktails, such as the Crimson Sunbird with cinnamon-infused bourbon whiskey and chai vermouth, the Satoshi Nakamoto with sake, and the Tommy Kah with an interesting addition of chilli as an ingredient.
Creating a vibrant and trendy hotspot in the heart of the Adelaide CBD, Gaja By Sashi hopes to provide their customers with a service that pays homage to the Singaporean hawker food culture. The setting offered a relaxed and inviting atmosphere to its customers, whilst being uncompromising on the quality and plating up nothing but the best of some of the most celebrated cuisines of the world.
GAJA By Sashi opens their doors on November 11, 2019 (Monday) at 4 / 86 Pirie Street and will be open for lunch and dinner from Monday – Saturday.
To avoid disappointment, make sure you reserve a table for yourself and/or your party here.