Guest post by Loh Zhu Ping
I’m usually wary when restaurants are located in hoity-toity places like Clarke Quay, Boat Quay well… any Quay really.
I my mind they are often the touristy places where many-a-gullible tourist go to sample “local delights” and get ripped off in the process.
Hence the added scepticism when I visited a snazzy Spanish bar/restaurant place called “Barraka” right smack in Robertson Quay.
If the name sounds familiar to the geek-inclined, yes it does sound like the Mortal Kombat character, funnily enough the motto of the night also turned out to be
“FINISH IT”!! (I am also aware that this pun might be wasted on a few readers but neh-mind i will write it anyway)
The main persons in this establishment are 3 European gentlemen, the Serbian owner (his name is Dragan) and two chefs who hail from Spain. The owner seemed extremely proud of that fact and quite frankly, he should be.
The food was generally unpretentious in its presentation. Honest and very satisfying.
Dragan recommended us a dish from each of the general categories and we would strongly suggest you take the time to “curate” your eating experience because there was something very delightful in the flow of the meal.
Cold tapas: BOQUERONES EN VINAGRE ($10). Fresh anchovies seasoned in olive oil, vinegar & garlic.
The pairing of of the strong tasting fish, dressing and olives was a nice start to the meal, whetting the appetite. While simply presented (the OCD in me was very pleased..You know.. Symmetry) the dish had loads of flavour and the anchovies were, for the lack of a better expression, the right amount of stinky.
Hot tapas: PULPO A LA GALLEGA ($21). Boiled octopus garnish Galician style with red paprika, rock salt & olive oil.
The octopus was well cooked, almost buttery, none of that rubbery texture that comes with over-cooking. The seasoning was slightly spicy and it went well with the octopus, the potatoes that the octopus was placed on were a little mushy but then again if they weren’t there it would not have been any loss to us diners. The only issue i have with this dish is that there wasn’t more of it.
TORTILLA DE PATATES ($6). Thick Omelette of Egg, Potato & Onions.
Think hashbrown wrapped in egg and onions. Had a nice potatoey after taste drizzled with a tangy sauce. We did order this halfway through the meal because the both of us are quite large eaters. In my opinion this would be something you would order with a few beers while watching a football game (on their large projector screen), not what I would consider “dinner food” but worth the calories nonetheless.
CROQUETAS DE JAMON IBERICO ($8). Lightly breaded fried ham fritters.
A ham and cheese sandwhich without the toast. Each fritter was nice and fat with generous amounts of cheese and a nice touch of ham.
We were slightly divided on this one, the cheese can be a bit much for some, but this is definately one of those dishes that is best piping hot, attack as soon as it hits the table. The combination of the elements did have a sort of “comfort food” quality to this dish.
Paella: PAELLA DE MARISCOS ($38/$75). Squid, clams, mussels, prawns, Spanish rice.
In my opinion, paella in a Spanish restaurant is like chicken rice in a hawker centre.
If you can’t decide what to get and you’re hungry, get paella. And when you find a place with good paella, find a job nearby.
For those who are fans of the crispy rice usually found clinging onto the base of your claypot rice or hotstone bibimbap this would definately be a treat for you!
The rice was definately the best part of the dish. Extremely flavourful and quite well balanced. The top layer was slightly crispy which was a nice counterpoint to the rest of the carbohydrate that had obviously been swimming around in the broth for sometime.
This dish came with clams, mussels, squid and two types of prawns, the smaller ones were overcooked which was the only letdown in this dish, but this was more than made up for by the yummy beads of starch that really made this dish something special.
I enjoyed Barraka because there wasn’t any of that fussing around with presentation. Good food, simple and rustic. Portions are mostly meant for sharing and taking bits of dishes here and there is the way to go at Barraka restaurant. Prices are very reasonable with the most expensive dish being the paella going for $38 for a gigantic 2 person portion.
Music was a bit loud but when you’re busy stuffing your face there really isn’t much room for conversation.
Expected Damage: $30-$40/pax