Ola Cocicna Del Mar
MBSFC tower three, next to Downtown station
It has always been quite a challenge to find satisfying Spanish restaurants over here in Sg, especially so when we’ve been to spain, had their flawless paella and tapas everyday that resulted in quite a high benchmark for us to compare against. But OLAAAAA, we’ve finally found one of the best spots for Spanish cuisine yet again – Ola Cocina Del Mar. I particularly like shouting the word Ola, as this is how the small Spanish community in my postgrad lab back in the UK would greet each other, with much warmth and familiarity.
Upon arrival, we were early for 7pm as you know, Spanish starts their crazy dinner at 9pm! And indeed the restaurant was almost full already by 8.30pm. The chirpy head chef, Chef Daniel, hails from Peru and has an amazing profile before deciding to settle down with Ola in Sg. Having the Spanish demeanour streak in him, the highly energetic chef brought us round his open kitchen, from the chiller dessert section (the air conditioning there was literally made colder) to the grilling area where his oven was purchased from Spain! From which, you could witness the sincerity and wittiness already in his cooking style, that you will definitely not leave with a disgruntled stomach!
Let me just feature my favourite beautiful, cosy spot to dine in that has a rustic chandelier overlooking you with a crazy collection of cookbooks that he has gotten from all over the world that you can not find in sg!
Well, having quite a big menu, we went straight for the $68 and $88 degustation! Lets look at the super worthy and hearty $68 menu first before the slightly more elegant $88. Amuse bouche (top) was served to us first that has perfectly fried prawn heads plated on top of the nuttier Romesco sauce. With its flavour all so well-balanced even for an amuse bouche, we know it will be an authentic Spanish night out.
The two classics of spanish tapas – Gambas and pulpo! Perfectly sauteed in the fragrant garlic oil and dried chilli, I reckon the prawns as the most delicious gambas that I’ve had. Gambas would usually not go wrong in most Spanish restaurants as long as you use fresh prawns but this was somehow a cut above the rest, especially so with the slightly bigger size and more satisfying succulence. The Pulpo, like what H said, definitely uses super fresh Octopus, that is grilled to a perfect timing as it wasn’t chewy nor powdery at all, definitely spot on for its consistency!
The carbs that made this $68 super value for money – Traditional Paella with chick peas, pork sausage and a generous serving of seafood! I shall stop repeating how fresh these seafood was as it is definitely so for all the dishes. What makes the rice stand out was how the reduced stock was controlled to prevent it from getting too mushy or dry; adequately reduced so the rice absorbs its essence perfectly. Tossed with the dollop of mayonnaise, that is how you enjoy this traditional dish over here!
Moving on, it shall be the more elegant $88. And you would have noticed some repetitions from the $68 menu such as the aged iberico ham toast and pulpo, I guess these are the classics that you definitely shouldn’t miss! The slightly mashy Piquillo Pepper paired with brandade that is an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil made it especially tasty and memorable.
Squid ink noodle paella with calamari has an intense flavour that is cut through by the smoked paprika drizzled above it. With its taste perfect in its own right, my preference is still the paella with rice.
Oh boy, what we have here was the biggest highlight of the night out of the so many outstanding courses. Secreto Iberico – Perfectly charcoal grilled Spanish Iberico with the right consistency and tenderness, paired with pulpy lentils and finally finished seamlessly with the Chimichurri sauce that added a herbal and tangy touch.
Olaaaa, and this was one of the greatest Spanish night out with Hazeldiary as throughout the entire meal, we were thoughtfully taken care of by Chef Daniel as he comes round to all his customers to give a deeper explanation of his creations, which allows you to greater immerse in this authentic Spanish spirit of theirs! Contemporary though, they didn’t lose the essence of the rustic Spanish culture that we would usually associate its cuisine with.
Verdict: Absolutely an excellent restaurant!