Kulto's Spanish menu needs to more spark
There are not many authentic Spanish restaurants in Singapore.
So fans of the cuisine must have been happy when Kulto opened earlier this year.
Chef-owner Jose Alonso helms the kitchen, and he has extensive experience with his home cuisine.
He worked with the late Michelin-starred Catalan chef Santi Santamaria and honed his career at Santi at Marina Bay Sands, as well as Restaurant Andre and Binomio.
The menu is typical of a Spanish restaurant, with tapas, paella and, of course, sangria.
From the tapas section, my favourite is the Tuna Tartare and Shrimp Tuille ($22).
Diced tuna loin is mixed with egg yolk, shallots and olive oil, giving it a pleasing, creamy texture.
The Shrimp Tuille made me think of a dense keropok and it works well with the tartare.
Also on the tapas menu is Chili Crab Croquette ($12), a nod to the popular Singaporean dish.
The croquette is good, with juicy and well-spiced crab meat within.
The sauce, however, is not spirited enough, even though it has chilli padi, red chillies and garlic. At most, it feels like a slightly spicy ketchup.
Looks-wise, the Iberico Chorizo, Confit Potatoes and Soft Eggs ($22) is the la chica bella of the ball, with wobbly egg and roasted potatoes.
The potato is confit in olive oil for a day, then finished in a pan upon order, so there are a lot of flavours packed in - the Iberico chorizo notwithstanding.
Paella is always expected at a Spanish restaurant, and Kulto offers three versions, from $38.
The Squid Ink version is finished with house-made garlic aioli. Because I am a fan of strong flavours, this dish is a tad timid for me, but the aioli helps a little. The Pork Sausage and Mushroom version fares better.
The thing I love most about Spanish cuisine is the full-on flavours - similar to Indian, Malay, Mexican and Italian cuisines.
Strangely, and sadly, that experience seems to be missing here.
The food is competent, and some dishes are very good, but I did not feel joy until the Kulto Cheese Cake ($12) was served.
It is probably the manchego and other cheeses that did the trick. The gooey savoury centre oozed straight into my heart.
There is perhaps more to Kulto than I experienced – like a secret pink room I peeped into at the back of the restaurant.
Its purpose is hush-hush for now, but I was told it is not for the conservative or orthodox.
I am certainly intrigued.
Perhaps Kulto is saving all its oomph for that.
87 Amoy Street, Tel: 9620-5626
Open weekdays noon to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm;
Saturdays 5pm to 10.30pm