It’s surprising how Dehesa has not become one of the places that’s top of mind when one thinks of Spanish food in Singapore.
A little under-the-radar, but definitely big on flavours and creativity, the restaurant is helmed by chef-owner Jean-Philippe Patruno, formerly of Bomba and Una.
Located at North Canal Road (behind the Circular quay/Boat quay area), Dehesa has been around since late 2015 and prides itself as being a forerunner in the nose-to-tail dining revolution.
The commitment to whole animal usage is commendable and you will see items such as Duck Hearts and Pig’s Head and Tripe on the menu.
I shamelessly admit that I am not the most adventurous gourmand when it comes to offal but it did seem a cop-out to just order croquettes and paella so egged on by my other half, I tried the Duck Hearts on Toast ($14).
Well, I did order the Jamon Croquettes ($14), but I can’t resist crisp balls filled with creamy, salty goodness.
The duck hearts arrived all glossy, drenched in duck jus, the colour reminiscent of a rich, intense beef jus. Apprehensively I took a bite, expecting a strong offal flavour coupled with a chewy texture, but the hearts were neither.
They were simply succulent and with the addition of membrillo (quince paste), quite a hit, especially with the toast to soak up all the jus with.
A classic order at Spanish restaurants is the grilled octopus. Well, at least for me, it’s a must-have when it comes to cuisines from the Mediterranean. Just the sight of a tentacle, charred yet succulent, and the smoky grilled aroma emanating from it, transports me instantly to seafood by the sea in the Med.
At Dehesa, the Octopus ($28) is taken up a notch, thanks to the addition of a table-torched sliver of lardo, which gives a creamy and salty taste to the octopus. I’ve never had it quite like that elsewhere and I must say, it’s now my favourite way of eating octopus.
Almost satiated, we had one more dish to go – the Ox Cheek with Bone Marrow ($36). The dark and nutty notes of the oloroso (sherry) glaze sang in perfect harmony with the rich, hearty, tender cheek. As for the bone marrow, generous portion, best eaten mixed all up with the cheek and the jus.
Another standout at Dehesa, I would say.
Why did it take me this long to drop in at Dehesa? I don’t know, but I know I will be back again, and the next time someone asks me where to go for good Spanish, Binomio will not be my only answer.
Address: 12 North Canal Road, Singapore 048825
Contact: 6221 7790
Lunch: Monday to Friday
11.30 AM – 2.30 PM
Dinner: Monday to Saturday
5.30 PM till late