Taste a slice of Barcelona in the heart of Singapore with famed Michelin starred Chef Carles Gaig’s cuisine at the La Ventana, Dempsey Road. For the first time out of Catalonia, Chef Carles will bring together an ensemble of traditional and family heirloom favourites to guests at his Singapore restaurant. Set in Dempsey Hill, the restaurant will feature an extensive Catalanian menu with items such as the famed Canelon whose recipe has been passed down since 1869. For Chef, this will be a presentation of his own style of cooking which connects the ingredients with the seasons, the city, the weather, and a touch of passion which has fueled his family’s culinary heritage for four generations now.
To get an insight into the restaurant’s dishes, the menu features the “Gran Apat” Tasting Menu. For $148++ per person (min 2 to dine), guests will get to savour a total of 9 different dishes that are unique and familiar. Start off with a refreshing tart appetizer in the Oyster “Escabeche”. Mild pickeld Gillardeau oysters is served with baby vegetables and herbs for that spritely burst of flavour. I would almost describe it as a palate refresher, but simultaneously wholesome in creamy, oyster goodness.
This was my favourite dish for the lunch. The Jamon Iberico “de Bellota” is made from 100% acorn fed Iberico ham served on a Catalan ‘crystal’ bread generously spread with a fresh tomato paste. On a whole, enjoy the iberico’s salty sweetness gorgeously paired with the refreshing tomato paste. The crisp and crusty crystal bread was a textural delight to indulge in, and it certainly rounded the portion off to a perfect notch. This reminded me off my earlier visits to the now closed Santi. A brush with a very fond memory, and now with something new to begin with.
The Lobster “Coca” is a creation of fresh lobster meat presented on fine puff pastry with an eggplant puree and roasted capsicums. While the slightly fresh tasting capsicums stoked the palate with flavours of sweet intensity, the lobster meat softened the overt flavours with its own unique brand of meaty heartiness. A delightful textural contrast again with the puff pastry, although personally I would have loved this dish with a touch more seasoning.
You’ll never imagine how soft this portion of Roasted Octopus can get. This dish of slow roasted octopus with infused potatoes and Spanish smoked paprika surprised me with the first bite. While I expected chewy, or at most a firm crisp bite, my teeth simply sank into the portion of octopus. Nonetheless, with the Spanish smoked paprika and seasoning livening the flavours up, I almost thought this was a close hybrid between scallops and bacon. A touch too salty, but with a unique texture that will surprise you.
Chef Gaig is the fourth generation in the family to prepare the “Canelon” since 1869, a traditional cannelloni stuffed with foie gras, beef, pork and truffle cream. A dish usually enjoyed around Christmas at home, this is one cannelloni that is perhaps a close representation of homely goodness with a touch of class gently glazed over it. I enjoyed the flavours, and in particularly the fresh wrap of cannelloni that so wonderfully encases the very creamy and slightly heavy meat stuffing.
The next dish of Carabinero was particularly impressive because of the prawn’s natural sweetness that comes paired with a base of caramelized onions that carried a wonderful scent of olive oil.
The Pigeon “Paella” – Carnaroli rice with porcini mushroom and pigeon. While pigeon is certainly a unique ingredient to add, its slightly gamey flavours will appeal to some. Still, the rice is nicely cooked to an al dente and well steeped with stock and flavour.
The Crispy Suckling Pig is also another dish worth mentioning. I thoroughly enjoyed the crisp skin, fatty layer and tender meat sitting nicely in a sauce made from its own jus. The side of strawberry salad is an excellent accompaniment to break any heavy flavours.
I was well surprised by the Catalan “Creme Brulee”. Not your regular creme brulee with a good dose of syrup at the bottom followed by a scoop of ice cream toffee topped with cream and a caramelized top. While it may appear heavy and rich in flavour, I thought that the combination of ingredient stood out quite nicely – enough for me to make a re-order the next time I’m back.
Sangria all the way!
The bloody mary
La Ventana is a presentation of authentic Spanish cuisine that seeks to tickle your tastebuds a little more with dishes that come straight out of the family kitchen. The dishes were generally decent and well worth the try for a return visit or two. I particularly enjoyed the Jamon Iberico and the Catalan Creme Brulee, both being items that stand out in good stead. As of now, La Ventana is a unique place to dine at. What I look forward to next is when Chef is in town to see what more he can offer his guests.
|16A Dempsey Road
Contact: 6479 0100
Tue to Sun 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm