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Monday, 21 September 2015

[Media Invite] Dinner at Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant @ Dempsey

Block 7, Dempsey Hill #01-02 Singapore 249671
Tel: 6476 2811

This is a media invited tasting session attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere and hosted by Ken. Don Quijote is a charming man of ingenuity and chivalry in a fictional Spanish novel - which probably speaks the same for the restaurant that has adopted his name for its own.

Good ambience and service are definitely a couple of traits of Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant, as well as a wide range of authentic, delectable dishes from tapas to soups to paella and desserts etc. Ken believes in quality and thus only the freshest ingredients are being used.

Besides that, standards are being ensured and the team visit Spain on an annual basis to gain cultural infusion and exposure. All the framed photographs on the restaurant walls were taken by Ken and / or his team during their Spain visits. Even the music they play here comes from CDs bought from their Spain visits too.

The tasting session commenced with some tapas dishes.  Gambas al Ajillo (SGD$18.00) - garlic-friend fresh shrimps in olive oil was a great start, fresh shrimps retaining its springy texture very well, and the sweetness of the shrimps was sealed nicely with hints of garlic's stronger flavour.

Almejas al Vino Blanco (SGD$29.00) - Manila clams in white wine sauce came with a nectarous broth, accentuating the lighter natural flavour of the fresh, chewy clams very well. Needless to say, even after the clams were long gone, we were still reaching for the broth throughout the course of the meal.

Next, we had Grilled Squids (SGD$16.00), softly saccharine, crispy around the edges and very tender; another appetiser that pleased the palate greatly.

Then we had Chipiron (SGD$15.00) - baby squids cooked in squid ink. Fresh, succulent squids soaked in murky dark sauce and boosting of a slightly "muddy" acquired flavour that sits well with many.

Another Chipiron dish (SGD$15.00) was served next - battered baby squids aka calamari. A thin coat of batter giving the chewy, sweet flesh a crackling exterior, a delightful starter that I could easily pop into my mouth non-stop.

After that, the Asado de Cochinillo (SGD$89 / $169 / $329) - roasted Spanish-style suckling pig which comes in 3 different portions and you'd need to order at least 2 days in advance, subject to availability. The skin here was wafer-thin, crispy and melty, sheltering succulent, moist flesh. There was no gamey hint to it, just the gentle sweetness of the pork flesh.

Then we tried the Huevos Estrellados (SGD$15.00) - "broken eggs" with chorizo and potato wedges. The runny eggs were indeed "broken" into fluffy fragments, heavily studded with wedges and slices of pork sausage, resulting in a beautiful mess of velvet chewiness and the crunch of the potato wedges.  It is not hard to see why this dish is a Madrid favorite!

Following that, we had Fideua Negra (SGD$33 / $48 / $65) - a panful of shrimps, squids and pasta, cooked in squid ink sauce. The fine thin lines of pasta was a refreshing creation, and every mouthful was richly-flavoured with the luscious squid ink taste, with smoky hints penetrating the sweetness. The angel hair pasta strands were almost crispy in texture, light and easy on the palate. I enjoyed this tremendously, especially the slightly-charred pasta that stuck to the side of the pan.

Next, it was Paella Especial Don Quijote (SGD$53 / 82 / 98) filled generously to the brim with an assortment of seafood, totally canopying the bed of rice beneath. Expect to be wowed by this dish comprising crispy rice, springy fresh seafood such as scallops, shrimps and shellfish, coming together to form a strong flavours burst. Seafood lovers would go crazy over this (indeed) special dish.

Finally, time for desserts. They started us with Pudin de Pan y Mantequilla (SGD$8.00) - bread and butter pudding deep-fried to a beautiful golden brown with dusting of sugar around it. Bite through the delicious crispy coat and reward oneself with creamy curd within.

Then we had Churros (SGD$12.00) a well-known Spanish fried-dough dessert that comes with chocolate dip usually. The churros here were quite crispy, but the dough was still thick to the bite, resulting in it being nearly too chewy. The chocolate sauce was to die for though - rich, luscious and just redolent with chocolate's aroma and taste.

Leche Frita (SGD$9.00) was fried milk with cinnamon syrup. I did not have much impression of this dish other than it tasted like milk and had the texture of moist cake.

Finally, Bomba with Chocolate (SGD$19.00) - a chocolate puff pastry served with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream. Another rich, indulgent dessert with strong chocolatey aroma and delicious flakey layers of puff pastry - delicious but not too sweet or overwhelming, definitely a recommended dessert after a heavy Spanish meal.

Oh, we also had some cocktails throughout the tasting session, starting with Red Wine Sangria (SGD$14.50), White Wine Sangria (SGD$14.50) and Mojito (SGD$17.00), pretty potent and sumptuous cocktails.

Overall, we enjoyed the food here, especially some of the seafood tapas dishes and the final pasta / paella dishes. Ken and Mabel (owners) are very open to suggestions and improvements to show that they care about what they customers feedback about, and prefer. Come by sometime for a great meal in great settings.

Thank you Ken & Mabel of Don Quijote, and Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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