Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dining under the Spanish "Tapas Tree"

If you are looking forward to spending an evening chilling out and dining in Spanish cuisine, al fresco style, "Tapas Tree" are Clark Quay is where you must visit. "Tapas" refers to appetizers in Spanish cuisine, though it literally translates to 'cover' or 'lid'. I believe the name "Tapas" came from the culture of Spaniards where dinner is usually taken very late. Hence, a "Tapas' is always required to cover the food to keep the food warm inside earthern warming trays.
At Tapas Tree, the majority of the seats are by the Singapore River, under the huge umbrella canopies. However, you can always request to sit at some short tables where you slouch into comfortable rattan chairs to enjoy a sip of coffee and the company of a few good friends. Otherwise, there are a few more dining seats at the rear of the restaurant facing the sheltered streets in Clark Quay. The ambience of the restaurant is set by the use of small tungsten spotlights and tealights in orange mosaic-tiled holders, illuminating the environment dimly. Together with the matching interior decorations, the restaurant brings diners to the cosy corners of a small restuarant along the streets of Spain, in the late evening.
The menu is available here.

Pan de Ajo
Garlic bread
Since all dishes are served in portions without any carbohydrate, it is not unsual to order bread to go with the dishes. Diners can choose from plain or garlic. We had garlic bread to go with our Tapas.

Chorizo Frito
Pan-fried Spanish sausage in olive oil
The sausage looks like regular frankfurter fried with some spicy sauce. However, apart from olive oil, no other sauces are added. The sausage is not at all like German sausages. The meat is slightly tougher. The taste reminded me a lot beef jerky and is not spicy at all.

Solomillo salteado con Ajillo
Beef tenderloin cubes sauteed in olive oil and garlic
The beef cubes are not really cubes at all, but bite-sized chunks. The tenderloin cubes are sauteed to a medium-done state, soaked in olive oil and topped with lots of fried garlic. The meat juice seeps out from within the matrix of the meat the very moment you sink your teeth in. If you are an adventurous diner like myself, you would try the fried garlic. Trust me, you will need a full shot of clear water after that.

Lenguado frito con Salsa de Alcaparras al Limon
Pan-fried sole with lemon capers or Spanish tomato sauce
This is the lemon capers version of the dish. the small green chunks are actually the caper berries. Learn more about caper berries. There is no special marination of the sole, but just lightly salted and pan-fried till the surface becomes slightly crispy. The meat is rather dry but still retaining the soft texture of the fish. The lemon juice and capers gave added a tangy taste to the mild-charred taste of the sole.

Pato cocido con Verduras y Salsa de Naranja
Braised duck breast with vegetables and orange sauce
This is definitely my favourite dish of the evening. Tender medium-done duck breast slices are roasted such that the skin is slightly crispy. Red and green pepper and swiss brown mushrooms are stir fried with garlic and served along the meat. Orange sauce is then drizzled over the duck breast. The juices from the duck meat and the orange sauce blended to give a unique taste and flavour altogether. The texture of the duck breast is also not too tough and chewy, just the right texture!

"Tapas Tree" is definitely a must visit if you like authentic Spanish cuisine, that usually comprises of food cooked in very basic condiments, retaining very much the original taste of the the meat. The ambience of the restaurant is also a fantastic place to chill out to enjoy coffee or alcohol. Visit Tapas Tree today! Tapas Tree can be located at the corner of the shophouse, at the end of the bridge opposite Merchant Court, in Clark Quay.
Note that "AMEX" cards get a 20% off the final bill.

Tapas Tree
Clark Quay, Block 3D, River Valley Road
#01-08, Shophouse Row, Singapore 179023
Tel: 6837 2938
Fax: 6837 2939

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