Last Updated: December 28, 2020
Talk to me about Spanish food and my top recommendation will be OLA Cocina Del Mar. After all, having worked in their kitchen for six months, I’ve come to love the food as if it were my grandma’s cooking and more so the place for it was where sweat and tears were once shed. That’s probably why I’ve never ventured to any other Spanish restaurants in Singapore. Well, at least not until I came across La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar.
Nestled within the food enclave of UE Square, La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar is a cosy and intimate space that aims to mimic the eateries at San Sebastian. As I walked into the establishment, I was greeted by a modern bar-cum-kitchen space lying parallel to a dining area that sits 15 diners comfortably.
From the swift actions of mixologists at the bar to the hustle and bustle in the open kitchen, no matter where you are seated, you will be able to witness all the action happening in the eatery at a glance—a never-ending showcase that will last throughout your entire meal.
What better way is there to kick start my meal at La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar than with some pintxos—northern Spain classics usually enjoyed in the Basque country as appetisers before the start of a meal.
Here, I got three of the eatery’s signature pintxos to try: Garlic Mushroom (S$2), Salmon & Goat Cheese (S$4) and the Anchovies & Tomatoes (S$2). These pintxos were so plump, moist and beautifully crafted that anywhere else they’d be party food, screaming to be paired with a glass of well-chilled Fino or ice-cold Sangria.
Pregnancy deprived me of neither, so you can imagine that agony within when I had to witness my dining partner taking sips of that beautifully concocted glass of Sangria. Thankfully, the kind mixologist felt my pain and got me a strawberry-based mocktail to go with my pintxos. Well, at least I managed to drink something out of a cocktail glass, so I’m definitely not complaining.
Of the three, it was the Anchovies & Tomatoes that won over my pregnancy appetite in an instant. The cured anchovies had a pongy hit that was bold, potent and not so typical. Paired with the sweet cherry tomatoes and freshly baked sourdough, every bite was a celebration of saltiness and savouriness so frustratingly addictive that I had to force myself to pull the brakes before I go overboard.
La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar’s Porchetta (S$10) was a hunk of pork belly with a crackling-crisp top served with a side of raw greens. Whilst pork belly lovers might complain about the lack of fatty juiciness, I appreciated the use of this leaner cut as it did not leave an uncomfortable greasy aftertaste.
Despite the absence of fat, the pork was equally tender with its meat collapsing under my fork. Before indulging in the Porchetta, don’t forget to squeeze in that wedge of lime as that tinge of acidity will work its wonders in balancing the richness of those slices of porky goodness.
Elsewhere, the Grilled Octopus With Salsa (S$16) arrived in huge, fierce chunks, just the way I enjoy it. Without cutting them into bite-size pieces, it often means only one thing—guaranteed moisture and tenderness. Indeed, just as I expected, the grilled octopus was butch but tender, sweetened by a tangle of salsa.
Every bite of the dish trailed a wisp of fragrant smokiness attributed by its unmistakable char. I might not be the biggest fan of octopus but La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar’s Grilled Octopus With Salsa had such a sensual and deeply roasted quality, I found myself unknowingly helping myself to seconds and thirds.
Big, rich flavours are evident in the eatery’s Baked Seafood With Olives and Tomato Sauce (S$16), a freshly baked parcel festooned with prawns, octopus, salmon and potatoes. Here, the seafood was drenched in a sauce filled with the profoundly sweet flavours of the tomatoes and hints of the ocean.
It was so tangy and appetising that my dining partner and I even attempted to soak every last bit of the beautifully seasoned sauce with our sourdough bread. This is the dish to be wary as it was the culprit of our carbs overload for we just couldn’t stop dipping our bread into the olives and tomato sauce.
Tucking into La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar’s repertoire of Spanish dishes was the Cured Meat & Cheese Platter (from S$36), a board filled with salty savoury meats and piquant triangles of cheese so pungent yet so delightfully satisfying at the same time.
Gracing our platter were slices of Acon Fed Iberico Ham, circles of Hungarian Salami, Provolone Cheese and Castellano Cheese alongside Falwasser Wafer Thin Crisp Bread and an array of dried fruits. While you are allowed to create your very own platter, I highly recommend you to try the Iberico.
Filled with pungent butteriness, this exquisitely cured ham was unbelievably tender and flavourful. Choose to savour it alone or together with the crisp bread with a drizzle of honey. Either way was an explosion of flavour; the kind of fireworks in your mouth you will never forget.
You must order the Brownies With Ice Cream (S$9) even if you are not the sort with a sweet tooth. After all, La Pasteleria started off as an artisanal patisserie selling Basque Burnt Cheesecakes (from S$7) and Brownies (from S$5).
The thicky square cut of chocolatey goodness was soft and gooey in the centre, yet crusty and cake-like on the sides—a testament of the superior baking process and the chef’s ability to control the temperature well. Crowning the top was a milky scoop of vanilla ice cream which added a touch of creaminess to this decadent sweet treat.
I was a little less enthused about the Churros Waffle With Ice Cream (S$12) probably because good waffles can be easily found in Singapore and La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar’s version failed to impress me on the dessert’s ‘churros’ aspect.
A dash more cinnamon sugar might do the waffles justice. Otherwise, the light fluffy texture of the golden brown waffles was spot on—the perfect kind of vessel to deliver my ice cream with before sending it straight into my mouth.
My trip to La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar definitely reignited my love for traditional Basque cuisine– that rustic, unfinished touch to each and every dish served. Now, my only wish is to return to those pre-COVID-19 days, where we can all gather to enjoy a spread of pintxos beautifully displayed on the bar counters of La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar. Back to those days where we all have the freedom of merry-making; with a glass of Sangria in hand, of course.
Expected Damage: S$10 – S$23 per pax
*This post is brought to you in partnership with La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar.
Our Rating: 4 / 5
La Pasteleria Kitchen & Bar
81 Clemenceau Ave, UE Square, #01-22, Singapore 239917
81 Clemenceau Ave, UE Square, #01-22, Singapore 239917