We Singaporeans have become increasingly health-conscious. I, for one, have been constantly looking out for healthier food options. Fortunately, I found a place in the CBD area which serves up healthy yet hearty dishes.
Located just a stone’s throw away from Telok Ayer MRT is Tapasta Bar, a dual concept bar-restaurant.
In the day, the restaurant serves pasta and grain bowls for lunch. For dinner, they serve tapas, mains and drinks. That said, the restaurant closes for a break in between to prepare for dinner service.
Since they pride themselves on their healthy day menu, we got both a portion of pasta and a grain bowl. A Regular bowl costs S$13 whereas a Large one costs S$16.
Tapasta Bar doesn’t have pre-set combinations for their bowls. So we had the freedom to customise our own, though that was easier said than done. The large array of vibrant and colourful items on display all looked equally tempting.
For every bowl, you get to pick a Grain or a Pasta as your base. You then choose a main and two sides (four for Large) to go with it. Finally, complete your bowl with a topping (two for Large) and a dressing.
For our pasta bowl, we settled on the Creamy Fusili as our base.
Impressively, it had an al dente texture that was of just the right firmness. Also, its cream-based sauce was irresistibly cheesy and luscious, which clung on very well to the pasta.
To go with it, we got the Salmon (+S$1.50), which had a spectacularly crusty skin and was juicy on the inside. It was apparent that they seasoned it heavily too; there was a strong umami flavour present in every bite.
From the sides were the Roasted Pumpkin, Baked Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes and Mushroom Medley. All these made for a colourful and appetising bowl. We then completed it with Furikake and Shallots, which added a tinge of saltiness.
For our grain bowl, we chose a unique Barley Mushroom Risotto as our base.
The risotto took us aback with how stringy and juicy it was. Every plump grain of barley burst with decadence and there was a strong, fragrant aftertaste of truffle. It ended up being our favourite item!
Accompanying the amazing risotto, we chose the Roasted Chicken Thigh as our main. It came with crackly skin and was very succulent.
For our sides, we went with Honey Glazed Carrots, Sweet Corn, Cherry Tomatoes and Baked Broccoli, completing the dish with Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Berries.
It was evident that all the ingredients Tapasta Bar uses are fresh. We felt that the vegetables, in particular, were outstandingly juicy and crunchy.
From their dinner menu, we had Tapasta Bar’s Bruschetta (S$11.50).
The dish came with six slices of garlic bread, all wonderfully toasted with a strong garlicky flavour. There were three types of toppings: tomato salsa, sautéed mushrooms and spinach. A drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze then completed the dish.
While the salsa was tangy and refreshing, and the spinach soft and juicy, my favourite was the mushroom topping. The succulence of the mushrooms was irresistible, and their softness contrasted the crunchy bread really well.
The other tapas dish we had was the Cajun Mushrooms (S$9). We were sceptical as we weren’t sure how well deep-fried mushrooms would turn out. However, the interesting multi-textural components of the dish proved us wrong.
The mushrooms had a layer of batter which was soft and airy but crisp. Within the puffy layer was an extremely juicy button mushroom that oozed with decadence with every bite.
Apart from the Thai sweet chilli sauce condiment, they also generously sprinkled the dish with Cajun spices. Although the spices did give the dish a flavour boost, we felt the dish was still lacking some flavours, namely the smoky and spicy notes of a typical Cajun dressing.
From their mains, we had the Chicken Meatballs (S$15), Tapasta Bar’s take on the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Interestingly, instead of beef, they make their meatballs with chicken and by hand. That said, however, they fell short of our expectations.
Although they seasoned the meatballs well, we felt that they lacked the meaty bite of a usual meatball. As a result, every bite wasn’t as satisfying and chunky as we were hoping they’d be.
The base of the spaghetti was a spicy tomato sauce. Unfortunately, it didn’t appeal to us either. While we could pick up spicy and tangy notes from it, we felt the combination didn’t work out. The flavours clashed with each other instead of coming together harmoniously.
Not to mention, the richness of the sauce meant it very quickly became a bit too jelak.
Considering their affordable prices and quality ingredients, I’d return to Tapasta Bar for their pasta and grain bowls. As for their dinner menu, however, we felt it could use more fine-tuning.
That said, Tapasta Bar is a relatively new place which opened only in February 2019. Hence, I’m optimistic they’ll refine their dishes in time to come!
Expected Damage: S$15 – S$20 per pax
Our Rating: 3 / 5
39 Pekin Street, #01-01, Singapore 048769
39 Pekin Street, #01-01, Singapore 048769