La Taperia, Shaw Centre, Singapore

Address: 1 Scotts Rd, #02 – 10 / 11, Singapore 228208
Opening Hours: Daily 12:00pm – 2:00pm, 6:30pm – 10:00pm
Instagram: lataperiasg

Here lies one of the best Spanish restaurants in Singapore.

The statement comes with a giant disclaimer. In Singapore. That alone should set your expectations. It is by no means near 1 euro tapas in Barcelona, or even Etxibarri in Asador. Regardless, it won’t be like The Winery, that giant speck of disappointment at Chjimes who microwaves paella and serves uncooked rice. But Les Amis group almost perfects a technique in launching new food concepts… What I’d like to call Template Restaurants. Notable examples: Tenjin, LINO Pizza and Pasta Bar, Tarte by Cheryl Koh and my favorite, KOAL.

To the uninitiated, you should know that Les Amis Group gradually infiltrates into your thinking process by way of set meals. I was enchanted with KOAL, and that sets the tone of my experience at La Taperia.

Spanish cuisine always holds a place dear in my heart. It is best enjoyed with family and good company. There is a bevy of textures, flavors, sauces and dimensions. It is nothing bland and boring like Greek and American cuisine, and rich in history. The moment King Alfonso X entered a tavern in Cadiz, thirsty and hungry, he called for a glass of sherry. Wrapped around the glass was a thin slice of jamon serrano to keep it cool. Since then, all taverns were decreed to serve tapas.

Such rich history only the genuine, adventurous foodie can appreciate of Spanish cuisine.

Few locals in Singapore swear by La Taperia. I now pledge with it. Set meals toy with your choices with a colorful variety. At a starting price of $42, you can get an appetizer, a main and a dessert. The Traditional Spanish charcuterie board should entice you, and it had a small chance on my list with the pan de cristal (my fond fond memories of Barca’s pan de cristal at the Hudson Yards’ Mercado Little Spain) but no. Stretch it a little bit for some Japanese Bluefin tartare, or in my case, the Red Leg Prawn a la plancha. I was hit by insta-love with the carrot puree. Tomato confit, taggiasca olives and sweet peas.

And it was just the beginning.

The mains felt like the Grammy’s. Basque Seafood Stew. Welsh Lamb Leg. Iberico Pork Pluma (which I do believe is reminiscent of KOAL’s). Braised Australian Beef Cheeks is a popular choice. But I recommend veering off the usual course. Get the Australian Stockyard Beef Tenderloin, a $15 top up. It’s tender, not dry. Truffle jus and cold red cabbage marry itself with the bloody tenderloin. The carrot puree makes another encore, but the caramelized French shallot steals the stage. It almost reminds me of the Brown Butter Leek at Asia’s 50 Best Burnt Ends.

Cathay Pacific used to serve Australian beef tenderloin for their business class, by the way.

My only criticism with La Taperia’s set is that its unusually heavy for a set. Try to find the balance in your choices, and not be swayed like I was. But I find I had no regrets. Dessert at a Spanish tapas always call for churros con chocolate. La Taperia’s rendition is by no means perfect like Churreria La Lola, but I do think it is one of the best in Singapore. I’ve seen plenty and they were embarrassing.

La Taperia is not an embarrassment to Spanish cuisine. Time to add another restaurant to your long, long, long list.