Dinner @ La Taperia

October 31, 2014 in Spanish

And in all honesty, I meant to check out this restaurant weeks ago. However, we postponed our dinner to last Tuesday due to some drama. Okie, maybe shouldn’t use the word ‘drama’.

So La Taperia was originally known as Terry’s Singapore. A joint venture between Les Amis Group and Manila based Spanish chef Juan Carlos de Terry. However, on the day of our supposed visit, I read from The Straits Times that chef Terry had withdrawn from the collaboration as he was not comfortable with the inconsistencies from his restaurants in Manila. And with that, I thought it was better to postpone our visit.

But drama aside, what’s more important would be the dining experience; The food, the service, the ambience.

Located in the newly renovated wing of Shaw Centre, the restaurant was seeing a good crowd despite the quietness of the wing. Guess not many has started exploring this side of Shaw Centre since not all shops have opened for business.

With a reservation made just 30 minutes before our arrival, we were given high tables. La Taperia would be more of a restaurant than a tapas bar. And I felt it was a pity that there was no counter seats for us to watch the chefs in action.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Tasting menu, $95 comprised of:-

(A) Capricho de santona (above) – Piquillo pepper stuffed with tuna, bound with anchovy remoulade. A cold dish, this was really good! The pepper was definitely not spicy and went really well with the tuna. A must try.

(B) Gambas al ajillo (above) – Spicy and garlicky prawns cooked in extra virgin olive oil. Prawns were big, fresh and succulent. I really enjoyed biting into the crunchy (prawn) meat with lots of the diced garlic. And while we were finishing our dish, the staff recommended getting the grilled baguette ($4) to dip into the sauce, which we did! And it was so good.

(C) Croquetas de cochinillo confitado (above) – Crisp-tender suckling pig bechamel croquettes. Well fried, the filling was smooth although we couldn’t taste the suckling pig.

(D) Champinones con jamon al ajillo (above) – Fresh mushrooms and garlic silvers sauteed in extra olive oil with jamon serrano crowned with an organic egg yolk. Upon served, the staff asked if he should mix the egg for us. To which, we politely turned him down. We noticed the egg was already broken, but that did not matter. This was a pretty straight-forward dish of mushrooms, fried garlic, cured ham with a runny egg.

(E) Salpicao de buey (above) – Angus striploin cubes slowly cooked in unique fresh oyster sauce, a creation of Juan Carlos de Terry. I don’t eat beef but my girlfriend said these were tender which went very well with the sauce.

(F) Chistorrado de pollo (above) – Chicken, chistorra sausage and valencian rice cooked in a luscious sauce of roasted red capsicum and piquillo peppers crowned with melted cheese. This seemed to be a dryer rendition where rice was slightly hard. Reminded us of our Chinese claypot rice. I liked the chicken pieces, but not the sausages which were too salty. And of course, the good part would be the burnt parts. However, as we ordered quite a fair bit, we could not finish the dish. But it was of really great service that the staff offered to help us scarp the burnt parts and transfer to a plate for our ease.

(G) Crema catalana (above) – A Terry’s style catalan cream enriched with mango bits and its crisp a la minute caramelized topping. I liked that every mouthful had generous amount of sweet mango bits.

(H) Marquesa de chocolate (above) – Chocolate marquise topped with baked almond praline. This was a thick slab of rich and dense chocolate. It was a little hard to slice through, but it was not a problem after we let it sit for a short while.

2) Pulpo a feira con pimenton de la vera, $18 (regular) (above) – The quintessential way of cooking octopus in Galicia. Topped on a bed of potato slices, some pieces of the octopus and potato were salty from what seemed to be due to uneven sprinkling of salt. This was also a little oily.

3) Super-cochinillo confit, $45 (above) – Unique suckling pig confit creation served with Calanda peaches, caramelised shallots and steakhouse potatoes. Upon served, the staff asked if we needed assistance which we nodded our heads to. And the staff assisted to divide the meat into three portions, leaving behind just the L-shaped bone. Meat was tender and moist, while skin was crispy with a good amount of fats for flavour. Nice!

4) Lobster paella, $58 (above) – These baby lobsters were flown in earlier in the morning and were offered as special of the day. Lobster meat was sweet and juicy, while rice was moist and thus more flavorful as compared to ‘chistorrado de pollo’. Nice!

5) Sangria blanco, $14 (above, left) – Tinto wine, brandy, cointreau, seasonal fruits and lemonade.

6) Sangria rose, $14 (above, right) – Blanco wine, brandy, cointreau, seasonal fruits and lemonade.

We ladies thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The food were reasonably priced and good. Will definitely recommend coming in a group of at least 3 to order the tasting menu and a few a-la carte items in order to try almost everything without feeling too full.

And it was not just the food that was great, but the service too. We were mostly attended by 2 staff. One whom we suspect should be the manager (although there was no distinction in uniform) and a young lad. They were attentive and allowed us to feel very welcomed and at ease.

One of my girlfriend ordered a pot of green tea, which she requested for refill of hot water a few times. And it was only after our dinner that we realised they had actually been giving her a new pot. The green tea was basically a pot of hot water with a tea bag. And we know a tea bag is only good for one pot worth of water before it becomes diluted. So yes, am sharing this not for others to abuse their good service, but rather to show how impressed we were at the service provided. And we were only charged for 1 pot!

So yes, having craving for Spanish cuisine? Do check La Taperia out! It helps that they are also centrally located within Orchard. There’s even a balcony with high counter table, overlooking Pacific Plaza, for those who wish for a more romantic dinner. Although I probably say the alfresco seats are more suitable if one is going for finger foods or drinks.

1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #02-10/11, Singapore
6737 8336, Website
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Thur, Sun : 18:30 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Fri – Sat : 18:30 – 01:00 (Dinner)
Service: 8

Dinner @ Sabio By The Sea

October 24, 2014 in Spanish

Having not had Spanish cuisine recently, my friend and I decided to head down to Sabio By The Sea. A restaurant which has been on my list of places-to-check-out for a long while now.

As Sabio By The Sea is located within Sentosa, we drove in. Did not like the hassle of having to take the train in and walk or take the Sentosa buses lah. =) But while trying to find a parking lot within Quayside Isle, we kept thinking we missed the entrance to the carpark when one will (just) need to keep driving along the long stretch as the entrance is nearer to W Hotel.

And it could be that we came on a weekday evening that the restaurant was not too busy.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), we ordered:-

1) Croquetas de jamon, $14 (above) – Ham croquettes. Crust was crispy and fried to a beautiful shade of golden brown while filling was creamy. However, the heat was not handled properly as 2 of the 5 were served, burst.

2) Esparrago, $18 (above) – Grilled asparagus, serano ham, soft egg, paprika & sherry vinaigrette. Asparagus were overgrilled. Or simply, burnt. 80% of each asparagus was black. A great pity cause this would have been a must try as we really liked the combination of crunchy aspargus, cured ham and half-cooked egg.

3) El pulpo, $21 (above) – Grilled octopus leg, “viola” mash potato, sauce paprika. Again, this was overcooked. Restaurants have to understand the power of social media. Comparing the other nicer photographs (of this dish) shared by others on instagram, I was disappointed to see ours was nowhere near those. A sign of inconsistent cooking? The texture of the octopus was so mushy that my friend thought he was eating chicken! And the paprika was brown-purple instead of a vibrant shade of purple as shared by others.

4) Vieiras en salsa de cava, $18 (above) – Sea scallops with sparkling white wine sauce. This was okie, although my friend felt the sauce was a little too salty.

5) Paella negra, $26 (small) (above) – Mixed seafood in black ink squid. Paella comes in 2 sizes; $26 for small and $45 for large. Having had tried paella in Spain before, this was nowhere near the authentic taste. We concluded it could be due to the wrong type of rice used. This was too mushy.

6) Crema catalana, $6 (above) – Catalan custard.

7) Pina asada, $14 (above) – Roasted marinated pineapple served with vanilla ice cream. It tasted almost like the pineapple grating of the pineapple tarts baked for Chinese New Year, but slightly more bitter. Thus the pairing with sweet ice cream. I thought this was okie but my friend was really not impressed.

8) Churros, $12 (above) – Crunchy fried dough Spanish doughnut. It’s stated on the menu there’s a choice of either chocolate or caramel sauce. However, it could be that our order (for desserts) was taken during last order that the waiting staff assumed we wanted chocolate sauce in the rush of taking our orders. However, that aside, this has to be the highlight of dinner. Long, thick churros which were served warm were chewy. Nice.

Generally, we were not too pleased with our dining experience. Food was not executed well. Most of our dishes were over-cooked. Burnt asparagus, burst croquette and overcooked octopus. It felt as though the restaurant was not taking pride in the food they served. I would expect the chef to re-do the dishes instead of sending burnt food to the table.

Service was lacking too. When we arrived at the restaurant, we waited at the entrance as we thought we probably need to wait to be seated. However, a particular waiting staff made eye contact with us twice and ignored us. So we thought we could walk in on our own. However, as we walked in, the staff then quickly walked over and re-led us to another table. Hmm…

I won’t recommend Sabio By The Sea. There are other options for Spanish, and at more accessible locations. The other options may not have a water view but good food and great service are more important.

31 Ocean Way, Quayside Isle, #01-02, Singapore
6690 7568, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon – Thur : 12:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Fri – Sat : 12:00 – 00:00
Value: 6
Sun : 10:30 – 22:00
Service: 6

Brunch @ Catalunya // CLOSED

July 17, 2013 in Spanish

Catalunya has been on my list of places-to-go for a really long time, and I am glad to have made time for it! =p

However, my friend and I were only able to order from the tapas menu because we reached at 3pm (Lunch ends by 2.30pm on Saturdays). So while I was disappointed, it’s my bad for not doing my homework well.

We were not allowed to sit at the main area, which was quite a bumper. We had to settle for counter seats that overlook the main area, but with a good view of Marina Bay Sands.

And because we came in July, we managed to witness behind-the-scenes of National Day Parade. Keke! What a surprise. And since Catalunya is a floating restaurant, the entire place shook when the military teams took off in their boats. Quite an experience!

From the menu, my friend and I ordered:-

1) The Bikini, $20 (above) – Cured Iberico ham, cheese, and black truffle sandwiched between nicely toasted bread. This was so good! A must try!

2) Foie-gras and eel “escalibada”, $20 (above) – I did not like this cold dish of grilled vegetables, foie gras and eel which had a somewhat faint smoke-y taste to it too. The egg plant (at the bottom) was somewhat mushy and did not blend in well with the entire ensemble.

3) Suckling pig tapa, $22 (above) – When the menu said “Don’t feel like having a whole suckling pig? Have the same pleasure in two bites instead”, I certainly did not expect two cubes! Haha. This was not too bad. Meat was tender, except that it would have been better if the skin was crunchier. You know, like how the skin of most roasted suckling pigs is crispy. Wrong expectations?

4) Croquetas de jamon, $15 (above) – This was ordered upon the staff’s recommendation and the filling of potato did not disappoint. Creamy and smooth. Really good.

5) “Torrija” with smoked milk ice-cream, $14 (above) – Our choice for desserts! Fried milk bread that was soft within, which went well with the ice cream. But our bread was probably over-fried at some areas. It had a slight burnt taste.

6) Jack sparrow’s mjito, $23 (above, left)

7) Catalunya sangria, $20 (above, right)

So although we couldn’t try some of Catalunya’s signature dishes since those were only available on the lunch and/or dinner men, our brunch worked out well nonetheless as the tapas menu was pretty extensive too. And perhaps it was because we came at the non-peak period, but it was difficult to get the staff’s attention when we wanted to ask for recommendation or when we wanted to place our orders.

But Catalunya is a charming place to dine at if one do not mind the slightly hefty price tag for tapas.

82 Collyer Quay, The Fullerton Pavillion, Singapore
6534 0886, Website
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Sun : 12:30 – 16:00 (Brunch)
Service: 6