SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) There are not many spots as romantic as UNA at One Rochester.
Housed amid foliage and the sounds (and occasional sights) of insects - with the Buona Vista MRT station a short walk away, it is perfect for the lazy couple.
It is an escape from reality, but you are not going to venture too far out.
The atmosphere is relaxed too. Maybe because it is Spanish food and the vitality associated with the Spaniards has infected the mood. There is much chatter and laughter, and none of the stiff upper-lip feel of a fine dining restaurant.
That is not to say the food is unimpressive.
UNA used to serve French, Italian and Spanish food. But under executive chef Jena-Philippe Patruno's guidance, it is now focused on Spanish food, with an extensive tapas menu, grills and desserts.
I found many of the tapas items delicious and unexpected. I do not have a sweet tooth, but I found some of the desserts enchanting.
GRILLED TO PERFECTION
The Grilled Octopus ($22) is simple. It is served with capers and potatoes, and paprika adds a dash of heat. It wins by being beautifully grilled, and the result is the right blend of smokiness and tenderness.
BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL
While I have had squid ink paella, the Black Rice Paella ($55 for up to three people) is new to me. Although the rice is nearly wet, with intense flavours, it was almost too rich. But when the dish is empty, you will be longing for more. It is delicious.
RICH & EXPENSIVE
At $18 each, the Gambas A La Jio (or Carabineros prawns) is frightfully expensive. But if you are feeling indulgent, it is a treat. Do not even consider throwing out the head of the prawn. The rich contents within demand a piece of bread to accompany it.
The Churros & Chocolat ($12) is an expected addition to the menu. Isn't this the official Spanish dessert for so many of us? Unfortunately, it was merely passable for me. There was none of the crisp, but a lot of the sweet. Order this only if you insist on churros.
NOT PLAIN AT ALL
While the name is decidedly plain, the Bitter Chocolat Ice Cream, Olive Oil and Sea Salt ($12) is hardly that. The ice cream is bitter, creamy and drove me delirious. Everything about this dessert worked so well. It could be one of the best in Singapore.
What: UNA at One Rochester
Where: 1, Rochester Park
When: Mondays to Saturdays 6pm to 11pm
This article was first published on Feb 25, 2015.
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