¡Hola mis amigas y amigos! Are you hungry? You’d love what ASPA has to offer. Located at Aranda Country Club in Pasir Ris, the restaurant serves up a wide range of Asian-inspired Spanish tapas dishes.
Granted that the restaurant is well hidden from the outside world, but it’s not that difficult to find as it’s located right next to Downtown East. The name ASPA was derived from the words, ‘Asian’. ‘Spanish’, and ‘taPAs’, essentially making it known that the restaurant combines the flavours of traditional Spanish food with Asian ingredients in their dishes.
The casual neighbourhood restaurant also features home-style comfort food and is the first restaurant in Singapore to launch the Spanish paella cooked in a claypot!
You best bet I began to salivate upon reading their menu.
What I tried
What’s going to a Spanish joint and not having a plate of ceviche? So, my taste buds and I started off with the refreshing Passion Fruit Scallop Ceviche (S$12).
The dish showcases Thai-style fresh cured scallops in a light broth with thin slices of radish, and passion fruit chunks, topped with chopped coriander. The briny scallop paired well with the subtly tarty passion fruit, making the dish a delightfully acidic one.
Another Spanish classic is the Roasted Octopus (S$16)— a beer-baked Atlantic octopus tail atop a bed of potato parmentier.
The tail, resembling a seahorse, was surprisingly tender. All I had to do was use the back of my spoon to break a small piece off! Despite the meat being tender, the roasted octopus still maintained its crispy texture. As a non-squid lover, I exceptionally loved how the meat wasn’t too chewy as well.
I secretly judge anyone who doesn’t like potatoes, a very versatile carb. The potato parmentier was smooth and creamy, and when paired with the octopus, gave off an unexpected earthy aftertaste.
Speaking of potatoes, ASPA’s Patatas Bravas (S$10) instantly became a new favourite! Traditionally, Patatas Bravas are basically crispy potatoes topped with a sweet and spicy sauce. However, the folks here have given this dish a little twist and topped the crispy potatoes with spicy sambal and garlic aioli instead.
The addition of the sambal hit all the right spots. I loved how they modified this dish to suit a local’s taste buds without changing much of the elements. A moreish bowl of golden brown perfection I can picture myself having with a chilled pint of beer.
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The last dish off the tapas portion is the 48 Hours Short Ribs (S$26)— slow-cooked beef short ribs with homemade root chips atop a pool of teriyaki sauce.
The meat was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the distinctly rich sweetness and saltiness from the teriyaki sauce gave the dish a bit of tang. This is truly a savoury, sweet, and salty dish, one that’s filled with a tsunami of flavours.
I couldn’t end my review at the meat and move on to the mains, right? A special mention goes out to the chef at ASPA for coming up with the colourful medley of tasty homemade root chips. Chips so good, I kept going back for more.
Pro tip: crush the chips up and mix them in the bowl of Patatas Bravas for an out-of-this-world dining experience. (Here’s me hoping ASPA makes my creation into a reality).
Next up, the mains. I love claypot dishes and paella so when I heard ASPA came up with Singapore’s first claypot paella I had to try it to believe it! Out of four different flavours, I opted for the Masak Lemak Chilli Api Paella which cost only S$28.
Once your server lifts the lid off of the claypot, you will be hit with an intense smoky aroma. I’m sure you’d agree that this is an Instagram-worthy dish too!
The creamy dish comes loaded with heaps of fresh seafood and its robust flavours accentuated by the smoky aroma make this dish a unique one. I love how the charred flavour from the crispy rice base gave this dish added texture too.
As the dish requires up to 25 minutes of preparation time, do remember to order it right away to avoid a long waiting time.
The second dish off the mains blew me away. The Surf and Turf (S$36) come with Secreto Iberico pork slices with calamari and mojo sauce.
I rarely indulge in pork dishes, hence, I surprised myself when I wiped the plate clean. The meat was soft, like the beef from the short ribs and when paired with the zesty sauce, it made this dish incredibly addictive.
I’m not sure what they’re doing back in the kitchen but the team at ASPA were churning out well-cooked cuts of meat by the minute, and I was savouring every inch of it.
End your meal with ASPA’s Churros (S$10) which comes with homemade churros, and kaya, topped with chonky chunks of pure honeycomb. Over here, the churros are slightly doughy, and its consistency is that of a youtiao (fried dough stick).
If you’re a dessert lover, you’d love how the combination of kaya and churros work surprisingly well together. Talk about a squishy surprise.
Never would I have imagined Pasir Ris would house a casual Asian-Spanish restaurant. Considering how near it is to where I live, the team at ASPA will be seeing more of me real soon.
If you’re ever around the area and find yourself craving a good Asian-Spanish meal, ASPA is the place for you. Besides, if you’re ever craving for a delicious meal after a movie or a hot day at the beach, the dishes (and refreshing drinks) here would complete your fun day out! As much as I’d like to keep ASPA’s existence to myself, I’m a firm believer of sharing good food when I come across any and this place stands true to that. Feeling hungry already? Click here to view their full menu and book a date with ASPA soon!
P.s. from now till 31 May 2022, quote ‘SETHLUI’ to enjoy 10% off* your food bill at ASPA.
Till the next time, foodies… adiós!
Expected damage: S$10 – S$60 per pax
*Terms and conditions apply
**This post is brought to you in partnership with ASPA.
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
60 Pasir Ris Drive 3, Singapore 519497
60 Pasir Ris Drive 3, Singapore 519497