Last Updated: November 5, 2016
La Taperia at Shaw Centre can be said to be new (opened November 2014), but it more accurately is a rebranding of the Manila-based Terry’s, which was its original restaurant name.
Following a short and discordant partnership with Les Amis, Terry’s owner Juan Carlos de Terry decided early October to repudiate the restaurant name Terry’s in Singapore, after severe disagreement over the amount of salt to add to the dishes (Terry seemed to have a penchant for high sodium Osteoporosis causing dishes).
La Taperia, the Spanish restaurant that overlooks the placid Claymore Road from the second storey boasts the largest Spanish wine collection in any Singaporean diner. Above the wine coolers dangles a wired rainbow of quaint lights that casts a homely undertone on the pastoral green couches and maroon tiles.
My first experience in La Taperia was initiated with a festive-esque cocktail before a bevy of authentically-adjusted Spanish fare took over:
Sangria Tintto/Blanco ($14++). The rosy flavour of red wine initially seemed to be a little short in this very compactly packed glass of brandy, cointreau, lemonade, and diced fruit. I must have mistaken the overloading of ice with dilution, for when the drink was completed I did recognize a tinge of a buzz.
Gambas Al Ajillo ($18++). When these 6 shrimps arrived in a sizzling broth of garlic, chili, and extra virgin olive oil, I remember being most excited to have my share. Though the prawns were sizable and chewy, they were inherently slightly bland and in much need of the salty olive oil dressing.
Champinones Con Jamon Al Ajillo ($14++). Fresh sauteed mushrooms and jamon serrano are mixed with an organic egg in this deliciously heavy flavored blend that features amazing textures of mush and firmness. Definitely a simple dish worth your time.
Rollito De Jamon Relleno De Calamar ($16++). The same savoury olive oil used in Gambas Al Ajillo (above mentioned shrimp) is used in this dish of large squid chunks wrapped in parma ham. Amazed, the carnivore in me enjoyed the tough and bouncy squid beneath the slightly crispy brown skin. Excellent Surf and Turf.
Fresh lime is provided on the side to add some zest amongst the heavy fried fats, in an attempt to neutralize the heavy fat content.
Huevos Estrellados Con Patatas Paja, Chorizo, Pimiento Del Piquillo Y Champinones ($16++). In all honesty,this dish didn’t seem that different from the Champinones Con Jamon Al Ajillo. Only the initial poached egg on the prior dish and the additional straw potatoes in the latter that added a crisp seemed to be the difference.
But if I had to pick one of the two, the first item would still come out on top.
Costillitas De Cordero La Parrila ($24++). Charcoal-grilled lamb ribs lacquered with honey mustard are served in minuscule bite sized pieces here together with sliced Calanda peaches. The mild organic sweetness from the honey was beautifully imbued in the tender lamb, erasing any gaminess that some might crave. I particularly liked the honey brown overtone on the ribs.
Super-Cochinillo Confit ($45++). Even if the seasoning can be considered inadequate as purported by Seth in La Taperia’s version, suckling pig is always great for me. Importantly, the pork essence and brittle suckling pig skin must be evident. This dish that is accompanied by crispy fat fries and caramelized onions hence does not disappoint, short of needing a tad more salt.
Paella De Bogavante ($66++). Not only is the rice fairly al dente, even the piquant flavours of the saffron and runner beans that the mustard-coloured rice exude pay homage to the Spanish sensory experience. The stock could have been a bit more intense though, tasting quite mild compared to Paellas you find in Spain.
But maybe the best part about the whole dish is the highly fresh and sweet lobster, its white flesh a potent contrast to the rich rice grains.
Marquesa De Chocolate ($14++). The richness of chocolate in this ice cream scoop is not to be doubted. Fans will enjoy the apt pairing of almond praline, as well as the ice-cold serving of the tough ice cream.
Hedalo De Aceitunas Negras Confitadas ($10++). We’ve once tasted an ingenious vanilla ice cream drenched in olive oil. This scoop right here is instead Black Olive Ice Cream, appearing to be a mix of predominantly olive and Albarino syrup. I’d personally recommend it to those who enjoy olives for a slightly savoury and sweet dessert.
With the intensity of salt in the dishes I tried, it was amusing to discover that Terry’s wanted to take it a level higher, which is supposedly how the locals in Manilla like it. Nevertheless, La Taperia has done sufficient tweaking to the Spanish dishes to appeal to most of our Singaporean palates, which is more important than blindly following a salty kidney-failing recipe.
Great flavours and a casual ambiance, La Taperia just needs a bit more minor tweaks on its way to becoming an amazing Spanish outlet.
Expected damage: $40 – 50 / pax