Working at DUO has its benefits, not least of which is the variety of dining options that the Bugis/Kampong Glam area has to offer. The newest entrant to the mix is Spanish restaurant, La Cala.
To celebrate (or should I say, commiserate?) yet another work week, a few of my like-minded colleagues and I decided to check out La Cala for lunch last Friday.
I think it might have just opened on that day for the 1st time, but we certainly didn’t feel as though we were unwitting guinea pigs.
The service was efficient and friendly, and the food – very good. The manager said that they did not have any lunch specials developed yet, but seeing as how there were 8 of us, we were happy to care and share quite a number of dishes on the menu.
It was good to see some non-typical items on the tapas menu – dishes like Carabinero Prawn Carpaccio ($24), Foie Gras Terrine Cookie ($18) and Beetroot Gazpacho ($11) but on my 1st visits, I usually like to try the standard stuff you might find elsewhere for a comparison.
So on to the Patatas Bravas ($11) and the Croquetas ($13) instead. And what arrived was still untypical. The patatas presented in a completely different style, not the usual homely pile that you would see, but artfully arranged little discs with aioli and a dollop of chilli.
The croquetas, too, were different – made with roasted chicken instead of the more usual ham or mushrooms. Crack the crisp shell and dive into the steaming, soft, creamy base inside.
There are 4 different paella options – and again, I rarely see Pigeon Paella ($38) on the menu, so it was a must to order, along with the more ubiquitous Squid-ink Paella ($32).
The Pigeon came all roasted and pink, a few pieces veering dangerously on the undone side, but it was a unique take to paella and served as a perfect counter to the richer Squid-ink version.
Both could have done with the saccarat – the crisp “burnt” base layer that I love most about paella, but other than that, they were definitely tasty and well worth the order.
One of the managers is from Catalonia so I asked if there were any Catalan dishes, and 2 were highlighted. The Fideua ($28) – a noodle paella which we didn’t try, and the Roasted Spring Chicken ($24), which we did.
Jammy prunes and apricots added sweetness to the juicy chicken, kudos to the heady jus that came along with the dish.
While a colleague preferred this to what we had next, I personally enjoyed the even more robust flavours of the Braised Oxtail ($32). Give me red-wine braised, dark, and caramelized and I am in love. True, the meat was braised to a near-mush, just that bit over, but I liked the rich flavours and the crisp fondant potatoes that came with it.
At the end of all that, we didn’t have space for dessert, so I’ll leave that for next time. I will definitely return, for dinner next, if only to satiate my curiosity if this could even hold a candle to my favourite Spanish in Singapore – Binomio!
Address: 7 Fraser Street, #01-40 to 43, Singapore 189356
Contact: 6282 9200
Mon – Sat:
Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 10pm