Spanish cuisine’s latest champion TINTO on Dempsey Hill offers thoughtful, well-executed takes on classic Iberian favourites.
Spanish food is having its heyday is Singapore. Over the past decade or so Spanish-themed restaurants have sprouted all over the Lion City, introducing flavours from across the Iberian peninsula at fine-dining eateries such as Michelin-starred Basque bastion Basque Kitchen and Catalan-centric Gaig to more casual ones such as Tapas,24 and Tapas Club to titillate local palates.
One of the latest Spanish concepts to open up here? TINTO.
Located in the Dempsey Hill F&B cluster, TINTO is helmed by Latin American husband-and-wife team Daniel and Tamara Chávez, who started possibly Singapore’s first dedicated Peruvian restaurant, Canchita. But even before Canchita, both Chefs Daniel and Tamara made their names in Singapore’s culinary circles with Spanish cuisine, at the now-defunct OLA Cocina Del Mar.
TINTO is a veritable showcase of Spanish hospitality: combining food, wine and conviviality in a stylish contemporary space that comprises of a main dining hall as well as a covered, air-conditioned patio at the back. Its food is a regional Spanish showcase. Chefs Daniel and Tamara have collated a collection of popular Iberian favourites that have helped cement the cuisine in our collective gastronomic psyche.
But with some clever twists. After spending almost a decade each in Singapore’s food scene, they’ve gathered what works well for palates here.
Take for example, the simple Gazpacho. Here the cold tomato-based soup is creamier and silkier than the usual gritty versions, with a touch of raspberry vinegar instead of the usual sherry vinegar for a fruitier hit. The classic Gambas Al Ajillo gets plenty of garlic crumbs for crunch, and comes sitting on a bed of potato puree, because which Singaporean will say no to buttery mash smothered in roasted prawn oil?
Then there’s the Broken Omelette, which must be a reimagining of the classic Spanish torte as an omelette with smoked Idiazabal cheese and caramelised onions. Or the Cangrego, a lighter twist on the adopted Ensaladilla Rusa Russian potato salad that’s become widely popular across Spain. Here it’s a melange of flavours and textures from sweet crab meat, crunchy green apple, and creamy avocado.
But it’s really the paella and fideua here you want.
Chefs Daniel and Tamara know that locals – used to Hong Kong-style claypot rice – prefer very robust flavours, as well as plenty of ingredients in our rice dishes. Your choice of Valencian paella, from the De Pulpo & Chorizo to the seafood-based Paella de Mariscos, come absolutely laden with ingredients. More importantly, it’s cooked for longer to attain more soccarat, so you don’t have to fight with your fellow diners for those crispy, savoury charred bits.
Likewise with the fideua, like the Fideua Carabineros & Setas that comes intensely infused in a umami-laced lobster broth and lifted by a splash of sherry. You’ll scrape every last bit off those pans, you will.
And don’t forget to order some wine. TINTO’s wine list is entirely Spanish, a commendable effort covering most major Spanish grape varietals and styles from pretty much every winemaking region across Spain.
With TINTO championing the Spanish food cause here, Spanish cuisine is only going to grow from strength to strength in Singapore.
[Photos courtesy of TINTO]
Tinto Spanish Restaurant
Address Blk 10 Dempsey Rd, #01-21, Singapore 247700 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5.30pm to 10.30pm Mondays to Thursdays; 11.30am to 3.00pm and 5.30pm to 10.30pm Fridays to Sundays
Tel (65) 9729 5002