If you’re a fan of The Final Table, you may recognise the name Manuel Berganza, one of the show’s contestants, who also happens to be the Executive Chef at the second Tapas Club outlet in Singapore. With the same man who earned a Michelin Star for his restaurant Andanada 141 in New York at helm, you can certainly expect to experience authentic Spanish flavours, which is welcome on an island where Spanish food is not as well represented as it is with Italian, Korean, and Japanese.
A tapa is an appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine, though here in Tapas Club, Head Chef Manuel has managed to bring out the Spanish roots of tapas through high-level gourmet cooking, creating a luxurious hybrid of fine and casual dining. Take their Cojonudos ($13.90) for example, which originated in the regions of Castile and La Rioja. At Tapas Club, it’s prepared in the traditional way while incorporating premium ingredients such as Fermin Chorizo – a dry-cured sausage made from Spain’s famous Ibérico pork – placed on top of toasted Ciabatta bread and served with a fried quail egg.
Another traditional tapa on the menu is the famed Croquetas de Jamón ($11.90) – a dish that apparently everyone in Spain would claim their mom makes the best version of. Made with a filling of creamy béchamel and chopped jamón, it’s the perfect blend of crispy and gooey, and salty and creamy.
While tapas are meant to be ordered in abundance so that dishes fill the table and create an environment of communal eating, Tapas Club also offers more substantial dishes with their Tapas+ menu. Each dish comes with one complimentary side and can be enjoyed as a main course on its own. We recommend their Pulpo A La Brasa ($24), a beautifully charred grilled octopus imported from Spain served with a side of crispy potato wedges.
Communal eating in Spain is never complete without the classic Paella, probably the most well-known Spanish dish around the world, and amongst all variations of Paella, the most popular one has to be the Arroz Negro ($26) – a Squid ink Paella with cuttlefish and clams. The rice is full-bodied, rich, and briny, having been cooked in seafood stock, which makes for a flavorful Socarrat (the crusty base of the paella), best eaten with the dollops of garlic aioli served on top of the rice.
My personal favorite, was the Berenjena Con Miel ($9.90), a generous serving of eggplant fritters drizzled with honey. The combination of salty and sweet was highly addictive. This, as well as their Bocata de Calamares ($10.90) – a mini-burger using brioche bread with deep-fried squid rings in between – make for perfect bar snacks. Wash it down with a range of Spanish beers, sangrias, and Spanish wines from just $9 a glass.
Have a go at their desserts as well. While churros are on offer, we recommend going for the more original Mousse De Queso Con Frutos Rojos ($10). It’s an interesting deconstruction of cheesecake served with vanilla cheese mousse, a crumbly buttery crust, and a sweet-sour homemade berry compote of strawberry, raspberry, and blueberries.
Tapas Club at VivoCity is located at 1 Harbourfront Walk, #01-98, Singapore 098585, p.+65 6284 4680. Opened Mon-Thur 12pm – 11pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am – 12am, Sun and PH 11.30am – 11pm.