Weets Eats: Tapas, music and drinks at Tapas Club
It is not difficult to get tapas in Singapore. From authentic to inspired, there are many options. So, for me, the overall experience counts.
Tapas Club has the right combination - lively music and atmosphere, Spanish accents all round and inexpensive tapas and beers. Dishes are between $9.90 and $25, the beers from $4.50, while wines start from $35.
One of the latest tenants at Orchard Central, Tapas Club is appropriately located above Spanish fashion label Desigual's street-level boutique.
As you step in, the music moves you. The jovial service continues the seduction, and when you get to the table, the food and alcohol will get you.
There are many items to try, but I recommend going with the most traditional ones because they do that very well.
It is a common tapas item, but the Patatas Bravas ($9.90) is special. Tapas Club's brava sauce is intense, but the alioli cools it down.
I was taken aback by how pale the Gambas al Ajillo ($12.90) was, but it is no less robust.]
Again, this is a common, easily available item at tapas restaurants. This version works well enough, but it is not ground-breaking.
#02-13 to 15, Orchard Central
Open noon to 3pm Monday to Friday, 6pm to 11pm Monday to Thursday, 6pm to midnight Friday, 12pm to midnight Saturday, 12pm to 11pm Sunday
The Carrillera de Ternera Con Idiazabal ($12.90) - beef cheek stewed in a red wine sauce and served with Idiazabal cheese cream from northern Spain's Basque Country - is worth trying. The meat is tender and packed with flavours, and the cheese adds a creaminess.
As expected, the paella is great. For me, the Paella de Chorizo ($25) is a pan of love.
At Tapas Club, the paella grains are separated but united in flavours. It is cooked in chicken stock with saffron, chicken and sweet paprika, and the iberico chorizo adds a touch of savouriness.Is there such a thing as a perfect version of a dish? We all have the versions we like. I like mine moist but with crunch.
The Fideua Negra ($25) is a must-try too.
The squid ink permeates the noodle paella, and it is deep and satisfying. The cuttlefish is nice but unnecessary - just the fideua itself would be good.
GREAT TASTE FROM LOCAL BRANDS
Six home-grown brands have been given the lauded Great Taste Award, which recognises artisan food and drink products from around the world.
Three of them are tea companies - Gryphon Tea Company, Pryce Tea (both subsidiaries of tea-trading business Lim Lam Thye) and The 1872 Clipper Tea Co.
The other winners are marmalade maker Straits Preserves, rock candy brand Sweet Enchantment and health food purveyor GTCL, known for its nuts and honey.
EAT FOR CHARITY
On Saturday, meet the finalists of The New Paper New Face 2017, have lunch and help animals. Big Street (104-106, Jalan Besar, Tel: 6100-2661) is offering a special $18 buffet spread of local favourites. Twenty per cent of the proceeds will go to Voice for Animals.
To celebrate retaining its one Michelin star, Summer Pavilion (The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, Tel: 6434-5286) is offering a six-course Tasting Menu (from $148) by chef Cheung Siu Kong until Sept 30. The sublime poached rice (above) will convince you of its status.
7 + 1 CHEESES
Despite the name, Pizza Hut's Cheesy 7 Loaded Puff actually has eight cheeses, which includes the exotic Kashkaval cheese.
The puffs come in two flavours - Original (from $24.90) and Extreme (from $25.90).