[SG] My Little Tapas Bar | Spanish cuisine with a homely philosophy

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Spanish saying, "Mi Casa es Su Casa" which means "My house is your house" has remained a guiding philosophy for the folks at My Little Tapas Bar (MLTB). With chef partners Maria Sevillano and Edward Esmero hailing from Spain, they arrived on our shores with an inconspicuous place on the bustling Club Street. 

While Spanish restaurants are not new to the F&B scene in Singapore, it is surely a struggle to find a sweet spot which offers home-style tapas creations and a wide selection of the world's best Spanish wines!

The best part about MLTB is that they just started partnering The Entertainer and offering some real value-for-money deals such as getting two tapas free for every two ordered. With over 800 "buy one get one free" offers for some of the hottest restaurants, bars, spas, etc in Singapore, utilising The Entertainer which is available on most smartphones makes dining out a lot more affordable!

Back to MLTB, we had the platter to start which offers a spread of Jamon Serrano (Spanish cured ham) at S$7/++ and some Manchego cheese priced at S$8/++.

With finely shaved servings of the Spanish cured ham off the mounted leg, it was almost a theatrical display as we watched the chef and some diners getting their hands involved in plating up the prized meat. The Serrano ham is made from the landrace breed of white pigs. As shared by the chef, the fresh ham was trimmed and cleaned then stacked and covered with salt for about two weeks to draw out the excess moisture in the protein. This also preserves the meat from and after washing off the salt, the ham is hung to dry for about six months before being hung in a cool dry place for some six to 18 months. Another interesting takeaway was that the drying sheds are usually built at higher altitudes, hence the ham is also known as mountain ham.

The Manchego cheese, made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed is typically aged between 60 days and two years. Of a slightly firmer texture (hard), we enjoyed the consistency and the buttery texture. Unlike some goat's cheese, this cheese has a distinctive flavour, well developed but not too strong, creamy with a slight piquancy.

Croquetas de Jamon | S$10/++

The lightly fried jamon-stuffed creamy croquettes served with aioli would make it a perfect platter to share especially over some drinks such as the Gin-speciality ones at MLTB or even a glass of perfectly balanced Sangria. However, the breadcrumb-like batter on the outside that coated the luscious and creamy ham bits was not crisp enough.

Chorizo a la Plancha | S$14/++

While the presentation might not have wowed us, the bold flavours from the dish did. The beautifully grilled chorizo sat atop caramelised onions and coated generously with melted manchego cheese. The lovely balance of flavours, both salinity and sweetness, was complemented by the balsamic vinegar drizzle. My personal favourite for the evening!

Gambas Picantes | S$14/++

A sizzling hot pan that served up a generous portion of large prawns, the dish came with some boiling oil with garlic, chilli and smoked paprika for that authentic Spanish twist in flavours. Dab some of the sliced baguette in that beautiful sauce for that extra kick.

Sardinas en escabeche | S$14/++

Spotting some love or hate relationships with this sardine tapas across the table, it was a plus for us. The sardines were cooked in vinegar, olive oil and smoked paprika, served on toast bread. The pepper puree that was spread across the sardine added a different dimension to the flavours with an extra punch. For those familiar with the fish, do watch out for some of the tiny edible bones which was a deal-breaker for some of the diners at the table.

Patatas Bravas | S$10/++

The consistently thin sliced potatoes were deep-fried together with some feisty herbs and spices. Tasting almost like freshly made potato crisps, it was a beautiful side that would demand a pint of beer or some cocktails to go along! We would have loved a more generous portion though!

Albondigas | S$12/++

The large homemade beef and pork meatballs in a rich tomato-based sauce made this tapas quite a filling dish but having it with some toast was really enjoyable as we soaked up the flavourful sauce. Perhaps due to the size of the meatball and to ensure that it was cooked through entirely, it might have been slightly overcooked resulting the minced meat to be slightly dry on the inside. That being said, dressing it with some of that sauce would solve the issue but as usual, the perfectionist in us always stirs.

Tarta de Chocolate | S$12/++

This portion was downsized to an individual serving but the usual would comprise two chocolate tarts instead of one. While chocolate tarts are somewhat a common fare, what made this special was the the three layers in the crust, ganache and the chocolate glaze. Unlike most commercial ice cream, the ones served at MLTB are handmade, literally as they skip the use of machines. With a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, the sweet fix concluded the meal in a harmonious and comforting tone.

Sangria Tinta | S$12/glass

A Spanish meal is never complete without a glass of Sangri and a meal at MLTB was no exception! While I am not a huge fan of Gin, MLTB does a great job in featuring a wide range of selection from the regular (S$18/++) to the premium offerings (S$24/++). The "Gin-toneria" (which means Gin and tonic space in Spanish) concept practised at MLTB allows customers to DIY their gin tonics with a choice of gin and up to three botanicals such as ginger, lemongrass and cinnamon!

Interior pictures - photo credit (My Little Tapas Bar)

With a rustic setting and offering some delicious homemade tapas and cocktails, MLTB is a lovely hideout amidst the busy street lined with restaurants and pubs. For the cost conscious folks like ourselves, do check out The Entertainer to make sure that you get the best buck for your dollar! With an annual subscription of just S$60, a meal or two at MLTB would easily get your money back not to mention the other hundreds of restaurants out there! The promo code "2015ALVIN" will entitle one to a 10% discount upon checkout on the website.

On a side note, the app has been updated with two additional features to enhance user experience:

1) You can select offers to ping to your friends. All you need to do is tap on the paper airplane icon when you open up an offer and input the e-mail address of the friend you want to gift a voucher to. He/she will have 10 days to accept the offer, and after accepting the offer, all he/she would need to do is download the Entertainer Singapore app and the offer would show up on their phone. They have until the voucher expires at the end of the year to use it. No more tearing up vouchers from the book and passing them around!
2) You can summon Uber to drive you to the Entertainer merchant you wish to visit, and see the rates with a single tap.

Overall verdict: 7.5/10

My Little Tapas Bar
42 Club Street, Singapore 069420
Tel: (65) 6223 8048

P.S: Special thanks to Rachel for the invite and MLTB for hosting us!

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