Having heard many positive reviews about Don Quijote (say 'Don kwee-ho-tay'), I headed there for my primero experience with Spanish food.
Warm, chewy bread rolls served alongside a tasty garlic butter dip did a decent job of quelling our appetites while waiting for our mains. While the menu warns that paellas and fidueàs take about 25 to 35 minutes to be prepared, our food arrived in about 15 to 20 minutes on a low-traffic day.
I wasn't as wowed by the Paella Valenciana ($30++ for a small portion that will feed one to two persons) as I had hoped. It wasn't poorly executed- the creamy short-grain rice was thoroughly infused with the saffron stock, and the mussels and clams were pleasantly fresh and succulent. But as I dug into the bottom of the pan, I was disappointed by the absence of socarrat- the crispy burnt crust that is considered to be the hallmark of an excellent paella by many. I also found the rice too wet for my liking.
We all preferred the Fideuà Negra ($30++ for a small portion, starring bite-sized strands of angel hair pasta cooked in a jet-black squid-ink sauce bursting with flavors of the sea. As with the paella, we indicated that we wanted the noodles to be cooked al dente and they turned out perfectly done.
We rounded off the meal with Pudin de Pan y Manteqilla ($7++) and Pastel de Naranja y Queso ($7++). The bread and butter pudding fan in me wasn't particularly thrilled with the former; the orange cheesecake was satisfyingly rich and creamy but was, again, nothing out the ordinary. Perhaps, we should have opted for the friendly waitress' recommendation for the ubiquitous Bomba de Chocolate (molten chocolate cake).
Now, can someone recommend me a place for good paella in Singapore?
Blk 7 Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6476 2811
Opening hours: 11.30am-10.30pm (Sun-Wed), 11.30am-1am (Thu-Sat)