No, although this restaurant is FOC, you have to pay for your food at this Spanish restaurant. “FOC” means fire in Spanish. According to its website, FOC is “.. a vibrant Spanish affair in the heart of Singapore with stunning food and outstanding cocktails… and is a collaboration between Michelin-Starred Chef Nandu Jubany, Chef Jordi Noguera and award-winning mixologist Dario Knox. We decided to try out this hip restaurant FOC Singapore in Hong Kong Street, near Clarke Quay MRT station.
The dining area of FOC Singapore is divided into two sections. There is a dark and narrow part near the entrance which has about fifteen counter seats and eight small tables. Further down is the bright section which houses a few large communal eating tables with big heads suspended above. A bit creepy but some might say that is art.
FOC Singapore serves the tapas style of Spanish cuisine that is so hip these days. On Saturdays, there is a Pintxos menu (a quick internet search tells us it means small finger snacks) which lists tapas items ranging from $3 to $6 each. Each item just means one piece of the particular tapas item. So it meant having to order quite few. A good way to experiment and try all the items, but we found that too tiring and opted to order from their regular menu. Here are some pages of their menu.
One thing we like about Spanish cuisine is the Spanish wines which usually do not disappoint. We tried both of their white wines by the glass that day : Zios de Lusco ($12.5) and 2013 Massis ($13.5) the latter was very good.
Our first dish was the Cod Fish fritters & Green Apple puree ($12 for 5 pieces). It was served in a bamboo dim sum basket. Interesting in terms of looks. The taste was not bad but not very complex. It reminded us of a similar item during a visit to Portuguese restaurant Boca. The Portuguese version used salted cod which had more flavour and with a deeper taste.
Next was a dish of croquettes ($10 for four). Knowing that we were debating between the mushroom and ham varieties, the staff helpfully offered to serve us two of each. That was a nice gesture. The mushroom ones turned out to be better as the taste was richer.
Octopus Galician style -Slow Cooked & Charcoal Grilled ($22) was a platter of sliced octopus tentacle. We always like octopus when they are fresh and cooked just right without becoming tough. This turned out to be the case. The spices on top (cumin?) added interest to the taste. Very good.
No visit to a Spanish restaurant will be complete without a paella dish. There were three versions to select from at FOC restaurant. We decided on a Black Mediterranean Squid Ink Paella ($24). As you can see, it looked very enticing. The seafood items were low in quantity – just four clams and prawns. But they were of good quality. The rice was very flavourful. The quantity of the rice in the dish is less than it looks as the pan was a very shallow one. It can be comfortably shared by two and still leave room to try the other items.
Overall, our lunch at FOC Singapore was an enjoyable experience. The wine and food were good and the staff were friendly. The costs per person for the above meal was about $40 (food only and including GST and tax). We will certainly return again but things to note for the next visit: (1) do not order all the items straightaway as they will all be served at the same time – cooking time is faster than we thought; (2) specify which type of seating when making reservation.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
40 Hongkong Street
+65 6100 4040
Mon-Sat: Lunch (Last Order: 2pm) Saturday is Pintxos Brunch
Mon-Thu: Dinner (Last Order: 10pm)
Fri & Sat: Dinner (Last Order: 10:30pm)