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Hola Spanish Cuisine

Hola Spanish Cuisine

Featuring FOC PIM PAM, FOC Restaurant, Catalunya Singapore, Esquina, OLA Cocina del Mar, Olivia Restaurant & Lounge, My Little Spanish Place (Bukit Timah), Gaig, Binomio, BAM! Tapas-Sake Bar
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

One of the dishes my friend Angeline and I enjoyed at @olacocinadelmar was the new “OLA” Paella.
Depending on your choice of seafood to go on the saffron-cooked rice, the price changes. So the Boston lobster version is $52++ while the tiger prawns is $38++. We picked the latter and were pleased with the sweetness of the fresh large prawns. They came ready peeled for ease of eating too - something I appreciated.
Love how the creamy herb aioli and sweet cherry tomatoes made the fragrant grains of rice pop even more.

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Think of this as “Surf & Turf” X “Steak & Frites” gone luxe as the tenderloin tartare is given a blanket of Avruga caviar, and is served with fried potato chips and French fries. Enlivened by the briny pops of the well-known caviar substitute and the salty, crunchy cooked potatoes, each bite of the softly-chewy raw beef transforms into something a lot more flavourful and interesting in the mouth.


Like Sir David Attenborough discovering a new sub-species of an animal, coming upon this cheesecake was just as intriguing for me. It defied existing categorisations of cheesecake that I knew of, and had me pondering in wonder as I gobbled bite after bite with gusto.
The filling, a secret blend of cheeses including blue, walked the fine line between two states of matter. Uncut, it behaved - cordoned neatly within the buttery crust (which tasted fine but had me wishing it was slightly less thick at the edges) but slicing unleashed it. Caramelised glaze notwithstanding, the brazenly creamy and pungent tide oozed its way to freedom, forcing hands to swift spooning action so nothing was wasted.


If you had eaten the suckling pig at Catalunya before it closed, you will find this familiar as the chef-owner of Olivia was from there. And there is no doubt he knows a thing or two about cooking a little piglet to the pinnacle of tastiness.
Very thin and shatteringly crisp of skin, yet so moist and tender within, this is compulsory to order for those of you who relish pork.


I don’t know if it’s because I was starving by the time I arrived here for dinner but good golly, did that Dry-aged Galician Beef taste like heaven!
Incredibly soft and silky from having been marinated for 45 days, it hides the kind of flavourfulness that makes one gasps and eyelids flutter.
I can’t think of anything better to lay it on than the crusty grilled tomato bread.
Advance apologies to whomever I am dining with at Olivia Restaurant next. I won’t be playing nice and sharing this that’s for sure 😂😂😂


Rather than me in a bikini, I would have this “Bikini” in me anyday 😂
But seriously, when so slender a sandwich proves to be a sheer force of flavour, how can you not be awestruck? It’s not math but madness that the three ingredients of Iberico ham, cheese and truffle can amalgamate into something of this magnificence.
Having just one piece can be considered masochistic because it whets the appetite for more but yet common sense commands you not fill your belly with more, lest the other temptations on the menu are missed.
Sigh... such a dilemma.


Carabineros are always a welcome sight. Because these vibrant red prawns are insanely intense in flavour, I find a little goes a long way.
When we dined here last night, they were prepared very simply and served with a fragrant inky-hued rice that’s luscious in the flavours of the sea. This delicious dish happens to be an off-the-menu special. So if it is available when you visit, get it you must.


So happy to finally have had a chance to catch up with my friend Angeline over a good dinner last Monday.
As I had received an email recently from @chefdanielchavez about new dishes being introduced by his teams at all his restaurants, I’d suggested we meet at OLA Cocina Del Mar to which she swiftly agreed.
Shown above is one of the dishes we had ordered to share that had both us raving. The robust flavours in this new dish, the Huevo A La Flamenca sat well with us as our palate favours the bold. Chef Daniel shared with us that they had picked it up from the Barrafina London chefs when they were in Singapore for the #OLAxBarafina pop-up not too long ago. I think this would be a great breakfast item too. I mean wouldn’t you like to have an organic fried egg topped with country tomato sauce, slices of pork chorizo, crunchy asparagus and ultra-thin crispy potato chips to start your day? 😄


Halfway through dinner, Head Chef Jordi came by our table to let us have a sneak peek and taste of a new dish he’s launching this coming week at FOC Restaurant on Hongkong Street.
What looks like noodles is actually cuttlefish cut into strips, and having been charcoal-grilled in the Josper, waft with a really lovely smokiness. Like a supermodel in the VVIP section of a club, they lounge oh-so-casually on a bed of green pea hummus that I actually found enjoyable despite not being a fan of peas by nature.


No photo can do this enough justice. But if you are like me and adore pork, you need to get yourself a platter of the Grilled Iberico Pork Ribs at FOC.
The meat-on-bone is charcoal-grilled in the Josper, so a crazy beautiful smokiness envelopes the incredibly juicy, tender and very flavourful pork. Not that you need anything else because that’s heaven right there but the smoked pumpkin purée it comes with, is spot-on too.
Each order of the ribs is hefty, so unless you are a protein fiend, I reckon it is more ideal for sharing. Six of us were able to take a small portion each last night but we did order many other items as well.


Far from your typical French Toast, FOC does theirs with a Spanish flair.
The fat puffy oblongs are pumped full of custard and fried to a gorgeous golden-brown. They are then coated in fine sugar and cinnamon powder before being served with housemade vanilla bean ice-cream.
This is the kind of dessert that makes you think “oh, that’s too much” when you read about it in the menu but the moment you take a bite of it, something magical happens and in a matter of moments, you’ll find yourself staring at an empty plate.


The indecently fatty cut of the blue fin tuna I had tonight was a thing of voluptuous beauty. It tasted uncannily like an aburi otoro in a top-notch sushi restaurant, the kind that melts like expensive butter in the mouth.
What took me by surprise though was the price. For such a luxurious tasting slab of fish from the Mediterranean that was large enough to be sliced into six chunky pieces, the price was a down-to-earth $29++.
I can’t wait to have it again and next time, I won’t be sharing.


Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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