SANTI at Marina Bay Sands is now open for lunch on Sundays with a selection of dishes featuring their Catalan roots. The celebrity chef restaurant, normally opened for dinners, now offers diners another option with a scenic bright afternoon view gazing into the picturesque Marina Bay Promenade while tucking into flavorful dishes from the earth and the sea.
This refreshing choice comes with a set menu of a starter, an entree, a main and a dessert at $88. Wine pairing is also available upon request. For the good and the tasty, SANTI’s cuisine is all about wholesome ingredients married harmoniously together. Each ingredient plays up to be the centerpiece of the dish, especially for dishes like the Black Rice calamari and octopus served with Aglio oli cream or the Catalan fish and seafood stew whose sweet aroma is the first to tantalize upon revealation.
Settling down to the table, cheese sticks and olives were served as a pre-meal pleaser.
Warm bread assortment was served with olive oil and unsalted butter.
As a starter, the table had the Gazpacho and Joselito Ham Toast. The Gazpacho with its rich tomato acidic tastes opens up the palate in a smooth savory way. Lasting hints of sourness bordering citrus provide a satisfying aftertaste.
Finishing that off with the Joselito ham toast where the iberic ham is to be fatty and silky, the texture complements well with the toasted crisp bread. Decadently smooth with a crisp and firm bite.
The Piquillo Pepper with Brandade and Calcots (Starter) makes an appearance with earthen spicy flavors. A combination of lasting flavors from the mildly pepperish pepper, nutty mixture of stuffed breadcrumbs garlic and onions, and the slightly delicately flavored roasted leek make up the portion. A deceptively unspicy dish.
“Empedrat” with Whiting Fish Escabeche (Entree) is a creation of both the Malaysian Whiting Fish and the New Zealand Gorrand fish. The ingredients used may vary depending on the best freshest source available. Both fishes are deep in flavor and made tartly light with the sliced pieces of gherkin. Droplets of black olive sauce create intense flavours that either bring out or overpower the natural sea flavours. A dish that is meant to please simple palates with a slight twist.
My favorite dish for the entire meal title will have to go to the Black Rice with Calamari and Octopus (Entree). Paella rice is immersed with the squid’s black ink and further cooked with seafood to provide a natural sea flavor within each grain. The taste by itself is warm and satisfying with a mix of nutty crunchiness and heartiness. Slices of pan seared white abalone and baby calamari make up the topping.
But the best deal comes with the mix of the Aglio oli cream when served over the rice and mixed. Made with egg yolk, olive oil, garlic and herbs, the sauce changes the dish’s complexity entirely giving a richer yet humbler feel, with the essential flavors of the earth made pronounced and the sea sweetness intensified. Lasting breaths of tenderness are unmistakable.
Also as a side there is the Baby Artichoke and Thorn Berry Salad. Meant to end off the serving in a light crisp manner, the dish is refreshing wit a tart citrusy vinaigrette that cleanses.
Diving into the Catalan Fish and Seafood Stew (Main), the method of presentation is simple yet with thought. Served covered, the metal lid is lifted off before you, and the waft of sea sweetness permeates upwards striking in gentle fashion. A honey like aroma is discernible which becomes stronger in the reddish brown sauce itself. Acting as deserving complements to the gravy, the pieces of fried Black Grouper and Snapper provide a certain level of tasty fishy saltiness, and the chunks of baby potato provide comfort in the bite.
For a little more poultry in the meal, SANTI serves up a sea fowl mix of Quail with Samfaina Catalana (Main). The sauce made from chicken jus and red wine reduction add unique flavor to the tender juicy quail whose meat retains a slight impression of gaminess. A home fare inspired dish, the prawn was there to provide an alternative in flavor.
The last main for the meal, the Pilota with Octopus and trinket (Main). Full, hand shaped meatball served with squid in a umami rich sauce made from tomatoes. The meatball carries a strong tasty porky flavour with a nutty sweetness and texture throughout. Slices of fresh white almond add further texture and visual appeal to the dish while lightening the heaviness of the combination.
With the approach of desserts nearing, out comes the Cheese trolley. The lift of the cover tickles the nose with a soft pungent aroma that is both guilty and sinful.
For the lunch, the following cheese were recommended.
- Petit Nevat (Cataluna)
- Ulloa (Galicia)
- San Simon (Galicia)
- Manchego (La Mancha)
- Valdeon (Leon)
- Cabrales (Asturias)
The range started from the mild, sweet and nutty before ending with bold complex acidic flavours that is able to startle the nostrils. Delectable, and especially good with the quince paste and apricot jam served.
A predessert of Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberry Sauce with Kaffir leaves is served. Refreshing and not cloyingly sweet, the taste of the cheese disappears.
And for the Finale, there was a serving of Marinated figs with Grand Marnier Sabayon and Almond Ice Creame. All were sweet with the tart in the middle being especially chewy.
Coffee/Tea and Petit Fours to end the entire dining experience
Balcony with a view
Me with Executive Chef Daniel Chavez
Santi’s set menu for Sunday Lunches is a good and cheery way for having some of the best cuisine served on a lazy weekend afternoon. The lunches are reminiscent of traditional home styled cooking with roots back to the purest of form, ingredients. And with the menu being a Catalan spread featuring sources from both the gritty earth and the tender sweet ocean, a harmony of flavours most commonly seen in the cuisine can be anticipated. The lunch menu is aimed as a teaser, but it is also an eye opener to what more the kitchen can create. I reckon that if one were to come back for the Surprise menu with everything left to the chef’s whims and fancies, I think the end result would be a nice sweet delight.
Many Thanks to SANTI and Venetia, Marina Bay Sands, for the invitation. Please note that most of the dishes in this article are tasting portions.
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Reservations : 6688 8501
Sunday Lunch Set Menu (4 course) : $88++ or $150++ with Wine Pairing
Lunch : Sundays 12pm – 2pm
Dress Code : Formal for Restaurant. Smart Casual for Tapas Bar & Lounge