29 March 2010

Jason & Liyan's Wedding Day

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1 March 2010

Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant: Splendid Spanish Surprises

Address: 17 Lorong Kilat, Singapore 598139 | Tel: 6465 1811

There has been a bit of a talk about visiting Spain. So the girlfriend brought me to this obscure restaurant for some Spanish fare. Don Quijote isn't exactly accessible by public transport, (with exception of the taxi, that is) but it is worth the walk from the bus stops at Jalan Jurong Kechil and Upper Bukit Timah Road.

First Impressions

The restaurant is nicely done up with nice warm lighting. No deliberate and pretentious welcome phrase from the wait staff, (doubly awful if it is in badly pronounced Espagnol) just a dignified greeting and we were ushered to our seats. Family friendly and Romantic at the same time.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Acorn)
Spanish Free-Range Acorn-Feed Iberian Pig Ham that has been cured for 36 months

I added this item to my "to eat" list after a few travel and dining shows and articles featuring Spain and her legendary ham. Curiosity had the better of me and I decided to give it a try. I like it for the way the rich individual flavours from the fat and fibres permeate the palate. The fat seems to melt in the mouth, releasing this pleasant, nutty flavour. The meat fibres provides this firm, resilient texture that you would play on your tongue for a while before swallowing. Definitely an experiential food.

It costs $27 for 5 paper thin slices and a few sprigs of salad greens. Not bad, considering it is actually bits of a 3-year-old pig carcass.

Berenjenas al Horo
Oven-Baked Eggplant

The girlfriend and I thought this would a "dry" dish consisting of the main event (the eggplant) with a little thick gravy on top. What the kitchen served up looked more like an oven-baked crockpot of clear vegetable soup with a halved eggplant. This dish was surprisingly flavourful. The eggplant was soft and mushy as it should be and the clear soup provided the needed taste for what would be a plain tasting dish.
The only grouses: This dish was quite oily and the skin on the eggplant was rather tough. I'm guessing the eggplant was deep fried or sauteed with lots of oil before going into the oven.
Nevertheless, an enjoyable dish.

Paella Negra
Spanish Style Seafood Rice with Shrimp and Squid, in Ink

I like to think paella as the Spanish equivalent of the local claypot rice. At first look, this dish looks like rice with with too much blackened poison. Mixing the rice around reveals the generous condiments of shrimp and squid. The squid ink blackened rice had a nice, unique and robust seafood taste to it. Some might find this taste a little over-powering and tasting like some stale seafood. But if strong flavours are your thing, paella negra is for you. Of course, the fun part of all squid ink dishes is always about achieving that timeless blackened lips and teeth look.

Sangría Tinto (Red)

Yum. This alcoholic drink was fruity, tasty and surprisingly potent. The slight fizziness and the chunky bits of fruit was refreshing with the generally heavy tasting food. Best to avoid it if you are driving. It would have knocked both of us out if not for sharing.

Last words

I think Don Quijote serves up pretty decent Spanish fare at reasonable prices. Service is brisk and unpretentious. Dishes like paella will require waiting (25 - 35 mins) as advised in the menu. Bring friends if you like to try a variety of dishes.

Must Tries: Paella, Iberico, Sangria