Looking for authentic Spanish cuisine at affordable prices? We review Tapas Club and its classic tapas dishes at Orchard Central
Helmed by Executive Chef, Jose Angel Alonso (also the Executive Chef of Binomio Spanish Restaurant), and Michelin chef, Manuel Berganza (the first Spanish chef in the United States to earn a one-star Michelin rating), it’s safe to say you’re in good hands at Tapas Club. The casual Spanish restaurant brings together heirloom produce shipped directly from Spain and authentic Spanish recipes to create classic tapas dishes – all at prices that won’t leave you reeling in sticker shock. After my trip to Spain last year, I’ve missed the cuisine dearly, so I was eager to give this new restaurant a taste.
My Spanish lunch began with a classic Spanish tapas dish, the gambas al ajillo. The simple dish consisted of fresh prawns sautéed with garlic and parsley – an exercise in simplicity and a showcase of Tapas Club’s fresh ingredients. My next dish, the tartar de atún con ajo blanco ($12.90), was an uncommon Spanish dish featuring red tuna tartare with tomato and avocado served with a cool, refreshing almond soup.
I loathe using the word melt-in-your-mouth to describe meat, but I’ll make an exception for my third tapas dish: the carrillera de ternera con idiazabal ($12.90). It is a divine dish of stewed beef cheeks in a red wine sauce with dots of Idiazabal cheese cream.
Another showcase of Tapas Club’s fresh seafood is the pulpo a la brasa ($22), part of the Tapas+ menu selection that includes one side dish, with additional ones available for $5. This dish of grilled octopus is another one that revels in its simplicity – grilled and served with just paprika oil and green asparagus. A choice of one side comes complimentary with every order of Tapas+ and at $5 per additional side.
The highlight of my meal was undoubtedly the fideuá negra ($25), a squid ink noodles paella with cuttlefish and “alioli” sauce. The distinguishing feature of this rich, black dish is the addition of a vermicelli like noodle instead of rice. The ‘noodles’ are fried dry before being cooked in the paella. The rich sauce, made from squid ink, ties this dish together in an umami-laden, inky mess that’s chock-full of seafood.
We ended the meal in typical Spanish fashion with the churros con chocolate ($8). Churros might get a bad rep for being oily, heavy, and overly sweet, but Tapas Club’s rendition is done just right – the churros are light, fluffy, and not overly oily or sweet. Most of the dish’s sweetness comes from the high-quality chocolate dip.
A tapas experience isn’t complete without a couple of tipples. Here, you’ll find Spanish standards like red and white sangrias as well as three beers from Ambar Brewery (one of Spain’s oldest breweries, founded in 1900). Tapas Club imports its beers directly from Ambar, so you won’t pay through your nose for a nice cold one. Pick either the classic Ambar Especial lager; the darker and more robust Ambar Export; or the Ambar Radler, a light shandy-style beverage that’s perfect for lazy afternoons.
If you’re after authentic Spanish tapas with your friends in a casual setting, you really can’t go wrong with Tapas Club at Orchard Central.
Tapas Club, #02-13 to 15, Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896. p. 3163 7577.