Author: Alex Chua
Tapas 26 is an upscale Spanish restaurant and bar situated at 26B Dempsey Road, one of Singapore’s top lifestyle and dining destination. Rebranded from its previous name La Ventana which first began its operation in 2015, this quaint little restaurant housed within a beautiful colonial building continues to serve an eclectic mix of all-time favourite tapas and cuisine from Spanish. Amidst the lush green surroundings, the interiors are contemporary and cosy, and the service is impeccable as ever. The premise is more relaxing than fancy. I waited for about an hour for my friend to arrive and I’ve made no complain as the servers were friendly and the seats and the ambience oh-so-comfortable and peaceful.
What about the food? We have the 7-course dinner selected by the Chef. First up is the Hokkaido Scallop for appetizer. Light on the ingredients – salmon roe, sprinkled with frisee salad and a dash of sherry vinegrette, it is refreshing, light, taste rich of ocean possibly elevated by the vinegrette, and the presentation reminiscent of a white stone slab. Definitely whets my appetite for the next dish.
The second dish, Salmon Tartare, is just as wonderful. Prior to serving, sea ‘ajoblanco’, or Spanish chilled summer soup, is poured onto the island of salmon roe, tomato guacamole and salmon tartare. The visual aesthetic is simply meditative. Taste wise the dish strikes the balanced tone of perfect harmony. The innate saltiness of the salmon has been smoothened out by the creaminess of guacamole and ajo blanco, giving it a certain complexity of taste quite surprising for a small bowl.
Now perhaps the main highlight of the course – Crispy Poached Egg with Foie Gras. The experience of cutting into the crispy chanterelle to the poached egg, and letting the yolk oozes down the foie gras to the cepes cream is pure hedonistic. The taste itself is like fireworks in the mouth – silken smooth, delicate, creamy and wonderfully savoury. A sinful indulgence treats to give warmth to your heart.
Yet another visual delight, the Scallop wrap with Panceta Iberica. A single slice of pork wraps around the scallop has a lovely layering of fat and meat, lightly seared to yield a slight crunch on the outside and firm tender scallop on the inside. The consistent pattern of strong, rich flavours starts to emerge throughout the course.
For the sharing portion, the server placed on our table a pan of Iberico Pork Jowl with Mushroom Paella. Again, the succulent pork has a nice crunch and the 50/50 fat/ meat proportion sets the tone of this dish. The mushroom paella has a more refined flavour, thanks to the earthy mushroom. The aroma is simply quite irresistible.
By the sixth dish, our stomach is quite full already, but we still manage to clean off the Spring Chicken Pulada. The tender meat is infused with a rich melange of contrasting sweet of prunes and savoury flavours.
For dessert we had the Crema Catalana with Caramel Ice Cream. The server kindly informed us how it should be eaten – by first vertically poking into the caramelised top and down straight to the ice cream. The creamy ice cream compliments the crispy crema catalana like a warm embrace, a delightful ending for the gastronomic night.
Overall, I would rate Tapas 26 quite highly on my list of go-to restaurants due to its playful, visually-arresting presentation, great food and perfect ambience to chill and relax from the daily hustle and bustle. You can opt to dine al fresco also. What’s also interesting is that the menu will change every quarter, and special dishes will be added weekly according to the fresh products found on the market.
26B Dempsey Road, Singapore (247693)
Tue-Sat: 12-2:30pm, 6-10pm
Sun: 12-2:30pm, 6-9:30pm
Author: Alex Chua